The term information and communication technology (ICT) is widely used in the National ICT Policy and Strategic Plan 2010-2015 and the ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022, no formal definition was found.
The 2005 Saint Lucia Education Act defines distance education as an “educational process in which a significant proportion of the teaching is conducted through one medium or a combination of media by persons removed in space or time from the learners.”
Constitution and laws: There is no reference to technology in education in the 2006 Saint Lucia Constitution. The 2005 Saint Lucia Education Act encourages the development of basic knowledge and skills in all individuals, including an appreciation for the role of science and technology in society and scientific and technological abilities.
The 2000 Telecommunication Act (as revised in 2015) establishes the Universal Service Fund, which provides financing for introducing and expanding telecommunications services to schools, health facilities, and other organizations serving public needs.
Policies, plans and strategies: In 2010, Saint Lucia developed and ratified the National ICT Policy and Strategic Plan 2010-2015. The policy emphasized the role of ICT in education and established the policy objective “to foster the use of ICT in education to develop human capacity, enhance competitiveness, modernize the teaching and learning environment, facilitate equity of access, and to develop individuals who are capable of functioning effectively in a technologically driven society.”
Since 2000, the Ministry of Education has developed Education Sector Development Plans (ESDPs) to guide its activities. The 2000–2005, 2009–2014 and 2015–2020 plans all call for the integration of ICT in education.
The 2015–2020 Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP) asserts that quality education “cannot be fully accomplished by remaining attached to antiquated teaching methods and technologies.” The ESDP identifies several priorities, including technology integration and innovation in teaching and learning. Two key objectives are using ICT to enhance student performance and to lower the costs of learning resources and educational administration, given the dearth of financial resources for investment in education.
Since 2002, the MOE has made several attempts to develop, ratify and implement a national ICT in Education (ICTE) policy. National ICT in Education (ICTE) policies were drafted in 2002, 2004, and 2013, but none of these draft policies was ratified by the Government. In 2017, the ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2017-2020 was ratified and subsequently, the ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022. The policies are intended to ensure that students and teachers engage in a learning process associated with the effective integration of ICT in teaching and learning across the education system and to maximize the accessibility and potential of ICT in the Saint Lucian education system. Some of the principal components of the Policy include equipping schools with the necessary ICT infrastructure and retooling and upgrading the ICT skills of principals, teachers, and other education stakeholders.
According to the Medium Term Development Strategy 2020-2023, one of the major thrusts of the government is the integration of information technology in the education system and adapting the curriculum to meet the changing demands of the global economy, to equip schools with the necessary ICT infrastructure and to upskill principals, teachers and other education stakeholders in the use of ICT.
Digital competency frameworks: ICT competency standards will be adopted for students, teachers, and education administrators. Saint Lucia will adopt the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (CFT) to guide all educators’ professional development in the country. As a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), St. Lucia has adopted the OECS Primary Grades’ Learning Standards for Science and Technology (Grades K-6), the Learning Standards detailed in this document are concise, clearly articulated descriptions of what pupils are expected to know and reliably demonstrate on successful completion of a grade level.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: Due to the impact of COVID-19, the OECS Education Sector Response and Recovery Strategy to COVID-19 supported strategies to foster distance learning. Strategies included digital ecosystems, WhatsApp communication, television and radio programs and printed materials.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: The Electricity Supply Act, as amended in 2016, regulates the electricity supply and licensing of the electricity sector, no direct mention on the supply to educational institutions is made.
The ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022 seeks to ensure the installation of basic infrastructure at the classroom level, including electrical outlets. The Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership supports the Green Schools Initiative as part of the National Appropriate Mitigation Action. It involves the installation of renewable energy sources and energy-efficient solutions in schools.
Computers and devices: Saint Lucia's ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for 2019-2022 aims to increase the number of computers in schools, computer laboratories, and National ICT Centres and the availability of technical resources for repairing and maintaining school equipment. In addition, it proposes that the MOE develop guidelines for allowing students to use their mobile devices in the classroom to enhance learning activities. It states that the MOE would consider alternate forms of equipment acquisition for schools, such as leasing.
The Medium Term Development Strategy 2020-2023, mentions the need to equip schools with the necessary ICT infrastructure.
The Government eBook Program is a program that delivers and supports the provision of digital devices and digital learning content (eBooks) to teachers and students (Forms 2, 3 and 4) at secondary schools in Saint Lucia.
A government laptop distribution program was implemented from 2013 to 2016 in Saint Lucia. The laptop programme involved providing students in Form 4 with a free laptop. Teachers were also provided with laptops.
Internet connectivity: The ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022 seeks to expand and improve connectivity and Internet access across the education system on an ongoing basis, with a particular focus on widening access to include classrooms (through wireless hotspots).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, connectivity was aided by the Government of St. Lucia Integrated wireless network (GINET). This wireless network would have enabled WIFI connectivity in key population areas around the island.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
The 2005 Saint Lucia Education Act includes distance education as an education modality in the education system in Saint Lucia.
According to the ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022, a potential strategy for accelerating parity in the education system involves leveraging ICTE to develop and share OER and expand the time-space continuum through open and distance learning (ODL). Moreover, it mentions Open Educational Resources and Open and Distance Learning as “enablers” for collaborating and learning across the education system. The ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022 also mentions that the MOE will provide access to e-libraries and related services, such as training on how to utilize ICT properly and how to allow electronic access to historical documents and sources of information which need to be preserved for future generations and will establish the infrastructure necessary to network all the nation’s libraries as a way of ensuring equal access to digital content no matter where one is within the country.
Students without internet access could pick up printed materials and educational packages at their school. During the suspension of face-to-face classes, instruction for students at the primary and secondary school levels was provided via Distributed Learning, specifically using online tools, TV, radio, and printed work packages. (SUMMA, 2021).
At the primary level, guides for the integration of ICT have been drafted to integrate ICT skills on subjects such as Languages, Math, and Science. At the secondary level, Digital Literacy is a requisite subject. At the end of secondary education, students must complete the digital exams for all Caribbean Secondary Exit Certificate (CSEC) by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC). Since 2018, all CSEC courses are evaluated through digital testing.
The ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022 aims to enhance the role of ICT infusion in school curricula and pedagogy. It aims to include Digital Citizenship and create a culture of safe and responsible use of technology in and out of school. The OECS has OECS Primary Grades’ Learning Standards for Science and Technology (Grades K-6), which detail what students are expected to learn and demonstrate on successful completion for each grade level.
Saint Lucia's ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for 2019–2022 aims for gender parity in access to ICTs and STEM fields. The ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022 includes the following proposals: developing guidelines and core principles for all schools on gender equity as it relates to access to ICT and ICT integration in schools and in the National ICT Centres (NICTs); each school's annual ICT integration plan will outline specific initiatives for promoting gender equity in ICT-related careers; and encouraging the use of ICTs in classrooms to support the mastery of numeracy, literacy, and language arts.
In terms of pre-service training, the ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022 aims to embrace the Commonwealth Certificate for Teacher ICT Integration (CCTI) and make computer literacy a requirement for recruitment into the teaching service. In addition, the MOE will provide ongoing ICT skills in-service training to teachers throughout the school system.
The 2005 A harmonized policy framework for teacher education in the Caribbean proposes that all teachers initial formation include the subject Information technology as part of their core courses.
The Medium-Term Development Strategy: 2020-2023: Nou Tout Ansanm highlights the formulation of an ICT initiative that is geared at retooling and upskilling principals, teachers and other relevant stakeholders of the education system in the use of ICT.
The 2019 Training and Development Policy for the Saint Lucia Public Service intends to equip and encourage competencies among public workers, including public school teachers, through training, course, and other initiatives.
The ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022 aims to train teachers in ICT integration skills and develop online learning material and courses.
The 2015–2020 Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP) aims to ensure all teachers are ICT competent and can integrate ICT into pedagogical practices.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2009 Privacy and Data Protection Act establishes data protection principles for the collection, processing, and use of personal data. However, the Act does not specifically mention the use of data from minors or in school settings.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
According to the ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022, the MOE will develop a multi-level course on digital citizenship to teach students responsible use of the Internet and to raise awareness of critical issues such as cyber-bullying, Internet privacy, Internet etiquette, sexting, violence, sexual abuse on the Internet, etc.
The Ministry of Education, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Cabinet, and Parliament are responsible for establishing administrative principles and processes for educational policies and governing the school system (Education Act, Section 7,2b).
The ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia 2019-2022 establishes the need to strengthen ICT for governance, with strategic oversight for ICTE, and the establishment of the National ICT in Education Council to be responsible for oversight of the ICT infrastructure as well as ICT integration in education across all educational institutions.
No national regulation was found on the use of mobile devices in schools. Individual schools may include specific regulation on the use of mobile devices within each institution.