“Government has just rolled out an educational management information system which will allow for the monitoring of key performance and behavioural indicators, and all IT coordinators in our schools have been trained to monitor it,” said Acting Minister of Education Senator Lucille Moe. She was speaking during a service at the Collymore Rock Church of the Nazarene to mark Education Month.
When the information system is completed, “parents will be able to electronically monitor their children’s progress as well,” Senator Moe said.
She was referring to OpenEMIS (Open Education Management Information System), an open-source software that creates a digital paper-trail on each student who enters a school in Barbados and follows them through their journey through school.
Consultants have been installing OpenEMIS in Barbados and a number of other Caribbean countries, under a programme funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The education management information system was among a number of innovations the education minister declared were coming to education in Barbados.
The ministry is also planning to introduce a National Innovation Competition to recognise those students who have come up with new ideas that are potentially lucrative, she said.
The theme of this year’s Education Month is Building Excellence in Education Through STEAM, with STEAM being an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics, a theme the minister said is aimed at “aims at fostering innovation by combining science with creativity.
“International studies have shown that educating students in STEAM subjects, if taught correctly, prepares them for life regardless of the profession they choose to follow. These subjects teach students how to think critically and how to solve problems, skills that will help them through tough times and enable them to take advantage of opportunities as they appear.”
In his address, Pastor David Holder charged the students to go “full steam ahead” in all their endeavours, reminding them that while Barbados has been renowned for its education, the nation now had to take it to another level and go even further than before.
“We cannot dwell on the past, because when we think of the past in a positive way we get complacent, and if we look at the past and concentrate on the negatives we become bitter,” Holder counselled.
“You must have a desire for education and recognize how it will influence the future you want for yourself. It’s not where you start; who your family is, where you live, where you went to school should not be a determining factor in where you go in life; it is how you use whatever opportunities are given to you. Apply yourself to your work, study diligently and be disciplined.”
During this morning’s service, there were performances from the Queens College Orchestra and the Springer Memorial Secondary School Choir. Students from primary and secondary schools read Bible lessons and prayed for the island and education.
Among the activities for Education Month are a series of lunchtime concerts around the island where students will showcase their musical and other talents.