Technology Association to upgrade e-learning platform

The Samoa Information Technology Association (S.I.T.A.) e-learning platform continues to boost skills development through online learning since its launching early this year.

An e-learning platform run by the S.I.T.A. was launched in April this year with Avele College becoming the first school to trial the internet-based platform.

Months after the launching of the online learning platform, the S.I.T.A. is now planning an upgrade.

President, Fainu’ulelei James Ah Wai, told the Samoa Observer in an email response that they are now partnering with the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.) to upgrade the current platform to include some of the recommended software to manage cyber risks and plagiarism.

“The schools already endorsed under this project will have free internet access for two years paid under our partnership,” Fainu’ulelei said.

But there are still teething problems with the project with Fainu’ulelei revealing that connectivity is a challenge as some schools cannot connect to the internet.

He said under this project they have consulted internet service providers to propose the best solution and infrastructure suitable to each school location in order to address the connectivity issue. 

When asked about feedback from schools currently using the e-learning platform, he said: “Are SIM cards used by students filter, again we met with internet service providers and have confirmed that the only sites this SIM [cards] can access are e-learning platforms. If there is no data, they can still access e-learning materials and continue their education.”

“Also some students don’t have mobile phones or are not allowed to have one by their parents. So they use the parent's phones to access the e-learning platform.

“We value the concern of parents as they need to monitor the access of their children. The team will be providing safer internet training for schools and parents in the next training round scheduled before the end of the project.”

Fainu’ulelei further stated that for now they are only focusing on secondary schools, and they are happy to have the U.N.D.P. come on board to provide financial support.

“We only have seven schools based on our human resources and support already in place,” he added.

The short term goal for now, according to Fainu’ulelei, is to be able to assist the schools that put up their hands to transform the current teaching environment to a digital platform due to the pandemic.

“However, the long-term goal is to train our children to develop a new skill, especially our Year 13 students to learn and understand in using this e-learning platform, which will benefit [them] when moving up to the next level of education at the National University of Samoa and U.S.P.,” he further reiterated.

“We are also mindful that we are approaching the final exams period and we don’t want to add more pressure to students and teachers.”

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