The learning environment at St. Joseph’s Convent is now vastly improved, thanks to a donation of electronics from the Taiwanese Embassy to create a multi-media smart classroom. The donation included 65” TV screens, camera, speaker, microphone, desktop computer, air conditioner, and the retrofitting of a classroom.
On Friday, May 6, 2022, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, His Excellency Peter Chia-yen Chen, attended an official opening ceremony of the multi-media smart classroom with Hon. Stephenson King, Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Transport, Physical Development and Urban Renewal, and Hon. Shawn Edward, Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations, and Sustainable Development, held at the Castries-based, girls-only secondary school.
Noting that education is a right for every citizen, Ambassador Chen said Taiwan will also fund another multi-media classroom at the Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School.
“It facilitates instruction by LiveStreaming lessons and real-time interaction with students, providing students with access to online content, all library materials, and, most importantly, access to education for marginalised groups who have challenges in the physical learning environment,” Ambassador Chen explained.
Hon. Stephenson King, Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Transport, Physical Development and Urban Renewal, described the establishment of smart classrooms in schools as a bold initiative, adding that Taiwan has been a great partner made a meaningful impact in Saint Lucia on many levels.
“I believe the establishment of a multi-media smart classroom is yet another trailblazing event which sets the standard and target for others to follow,” Hon. King said. “And so I believe the cooperation between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Saint Lucia is one that redounds to some of the achievements which we can record and recognize in many aspects: in education, health, community development, and even infrastructure.”
Hon. Shawn Edward, Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations, and Sustainable Development, said that as technology continues to advance in education, Saint Lucian students will not be left behind in the era of only chalk and talk.
“In Saint Lucia today, we are committed to ensuring that we incorporate an embedding technology at almost every step of the educational journey,” Hon. Edward said. “Not because it is fashionable, but because research has shown that when you incorporate technology into lesson delivery and the general scheme of education, your results tend to be a lot better.”
Ambassador of the United States to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS, H.E. Linda Taglialatela also pre-recorded a video to extend her congratulation to this successful milestone. “It is reassuring to see development partners like Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund work in partnership with Saint Lucia Government to strengthen education system and directly address educational equalities.” Ambassador Taglialatela introduced a flagship bilateral educational programme “Saint Lucian ConnectEd” funded by USAID last year, and said that she sees an opportunity to build on the foundation laid by Taiwan. “These smart classrooms constructed in the Saint Lucia Government’s Smart National Initiative, coupled with investment made by the USAID funded ConnnectEd programme, can be transformational in closing educational gap,” she said.
The smart classroom is the realisation of hard work, commitment and support from Joanna Huang, Manager of the ICT Project, and the team at the Taiwanese Embassy, and Royston Emmanuel, Head of e-Learning Academy at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.
Digital education is fast becoming a response to the continuity of education systems globally, due to disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the constant threat of natural disasters.
These disruptions have created a situation where education systems are very vulnerable. Increasing access to quality content and improving the capacity of educators to create and share content is now seen as an effective response to supporting resilience within our education systems.
Therefore, the Government of Taiwan has undertaken this far-reaching project that seeks to support a resilience-based approach to the education system through the creation, curation, and distribution of digital content within Saint Lucia’s education system via the establishment of lecture capture and streaming spaces at selected schools.