The Introduction of Computers in secondary schools in Jamaica

A case of Bottom-up Reform

Book Cover: The Introduction of Computers in secondary schools in Jamaica

In Adapting Technology for School Improvement: A Global Perspective. Editors David W Chapman and Lars O Mahlick. International Institute of Educational Planning: Paris. 2004 Pp 101-121.

The Introduction of Computers in Secondary Schools in Jamaica: A Case of Bottom-up Reform focuses exclusively on public secondary schools in Jamaica and traces the introduction of computers in a few schools in the mid-1980s to the inclusion in all public secondary schools by 2000. The paper draws on some material reported in Partnership for Change: Using Computers to Improve Instruction in Jamaica’s Schools, 1996, it examines the roles of each partner to 2002. This includes the Jamaica Computer Society Education Foundation; the Business Partners; the HEART Trust; the school communities; the main agencies providing development cooperation and the Ministry of Education. In so doing it examined the impact of the virtual collapse of the financial and banking sector between 1998 and 2000 and rising public debt. I

The paper looked at the circumstances and factors which operated as the Ministry of Education moved from the periphery to the center stage of policy-making and the decline of the Jamaica Computer Society Education Foundation from visionary leadership to becoming no longer needed. One of the most important observations of the study was that the school communities of teachers, parents, students, past students, and organisations and business in the neighborhoods of schools were the most constant, reliable and substantial contributors to the origin and its sustainability of the reform notwithstanding changes in implementation and great variations in the economy. This was with the exception of 26 of the 166 public secondary schools that were located in very poor communities.

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