Project seeks to boost digital literacy

A $2.4 million project funded by Japan to boost digital literacy amongst teachers with technical assistance provided by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will soon be launched.

The UNESCO has released a media statement titled “[Information and Communications Technology] in Education in Samoa: Developing Resilient Education System” on the project which gave details and the expected outcomes.

The project will use online and multimedia platforms as a countermeasure against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be funded to the tune of US$954,545 (approximately $2.4 million tala) by the government of Japan.

Technical assistance for the implementation of the 12-month project will come courtesy of UNESCO and it will support approximately 20 primary and secondary schools in both Upolu and Savai’i.

The schools were selected based on their marginalisation due geographical location, low socioeconomic status, gender imbalance and have enrolled children with learning disabilities.

The project’s aim is to increase digital literacy for education, in particular among the teachers, to support blended teaching and learning and to enhance steps to redress digital-divide in education plans and strategies.

M.E.S.C. Chief Executive Officer, Afamasaga Karoline Afamasaga-Fuatai, highlighted some of the challenges facing students during the pandemic and how those who are marginalised can be impacted. 

“The shift to online learning programs also poses a great challenge for students with disabilities who may be left behind; therefore, improving equity for students in this respect is paramount,” Afamasaga said.

Japan’s Ambassador to Samoa, Genichi Terasawa, said Japan continues to provide assistance for quality education in Samoa.

He said this is based on the belief that capacity development of teachers and better facilities such as the ICT results in quality education which brings a better future to the children and the country.

“This project will also encourage us to fight with the pandemic,” he said.

The project will complement the ongoing work of UNESCO on a regional learning management platform and lifelong learning.

UNESCO Regional Office Director and Representative to the Pacific States, Ms. Nisha, drew attention to the impact of the pandemic and how it is forcing stakeholders to see how technology can be used to address their challenges.

”The turbulent year-and-half marked by COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to see the uniqueness of education resources on each island,” she said. 

“Through this project it is giving us to consider how technology and educators could respond to address inequalities in access, and teaching and learning resources for both students and teachers.”

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