Louis Dodson and Dianna A. DaSilva, University of Guyana, Guyana
Abstract: The main thesis of this paper is that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) hold tremendous opportunities for enhancing the quality and coverage of public goods in developing countries. Within this context, the paper examines, through a SWOT analysis, the opportunity for using Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) to enhance the quality and coverage of education delivery in Guyana at the General Secondary School (GSS) level. Its main conclusion in this regard, is that through the use of CAI, the negative effects which the shortages of trained teachers have on the quality of education delivery at the GSS level, can be reduced if not eliminated. Noteworthy, CAI can be used to support Conventional Teacher-Centered Instruction (CTCI). In addition, it can serve to reduce urban-rural inequality in terms of access to quality secondary education. The paper considers, however, that these opportunities must be predicated on an understanding of the characteristic weaknesses of the education system and the related possible threats to effective application of ICT to education delivery. Of import are the informal dynamics that inter-play in the use of certain ICT in schools, namely computers; the risk of erosion of local educational materials and tools for learning given current indigenous capacity weaknesses and the increased marketability of trained teachers for the foreign market where the application of ICT to learning occurs on a higher level. However, this paper suggests that with prudent policy approaches, the weaknesses can be overcome, the threats can be minimised and therefore the opportunities can be accomplished. In this regard, this paper concludes with policy recommendations.
Keywords: Universal Primary Education; Universal Secondary Education; Information Communication Technologies (ICTs); General Secondary Schools; Computer-Assisted Instruction; conventional teacher-centered mode teacher-centered; student-centered.