Project Description

The Caribbean region comprises a number of islands in and mainland countries which border on the Caribbean Sea. Described as small, developing countries, they share a history of colonisation by the English, French, Spanish and Dutch (some countries still remain colonies) resulting in varying language and culture groupings in the region today.

Human resource development is a primary concern of governments in the region, with increased participation in post-secondary education viewed as an important aspect and the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in the delivery of education as one of the strategies.

In recognition of the need to increase access to the services offered by universities in the Caribbean region, the project seeks to: provide the hardware to enhance the existing telecommunication infrastructure, technical assistance and training of personnel in each of five universities (The University of the West Indies, the University of Technology, Jamaica, the University of Guyana, the University of Suriname, and the University Quisqueya [Haiti]) to enable use of ICTs for teaching, administration and materials distribution for distance education programmes. Collaboration among the participating institutions will be enhanced

The Objectives

The development objective of the project is to develop the human resources within the region through enabling each of the five participating universities to develop and deliver quality distance education programmes using ICTs. In this way, the competitiveness of the region in general and the institutions in particular will be enhanced, participation in the knowledge society increased – not only as users, but also as generators of knowledge – and cost savings realised in the use of the technology for distribution of the course materials and the teaching and administration of programmes.

In order to increase access to education and training opportunities through the enhancement of distance education delivery methods by the use of ICTs (including Web-based technologies), the project will have the following immediate objectives:

  • To develop an expandable framework to accommodate a multiplicity of technologies, known and unknown
  • To select appropriate enabling technologies and media
  • To acquire appropriate hardware and software for the telecommunication network, materials distribution and reproduction, teaching and administration.
  • To identify programmes to be developed for delivery using ICTs and to develop them.
  • To identify and provide in the initial stage and where necessary technical assistance in the development of the technical, administrative, and educational systems based on the use of ICTs.
  • To identify appropriate personnel (academic, administrative, technical) in each institution to be trained in ICTs for teaching, administration, and materials delivery, thereby building the human resource capacity in the provider institutions.
  • To train the persons who have to use the technology including students.
  • To identify the requisite recurrent budgetary support.
  • To establish with the support of CARICOM and other such bodies strategic linkages with providers and manufacturers.
  • To establish/strengthen links between universities.
  • To gather baseline data (including existing studies) on matters such as technology in the region; use of ICTs by the universities in the region for distance education; other initiatives in the region; learning styles.
  • To develop projections of prospects for expansion to other institutions at different levels of the educational system.