The term communication and information technology appears in various regulatory frameworks, including in the Primary Education Act of 1960, as amended in 2019, and in the National Strategic Policy Plan for ICT in Education of 2014.
Constitution and laws: The 1987 Suriname Constitution, amended in 1992, establishes that the practice of science and technology is free (art. 38). In addition, it specifies that the State shall preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Suriname, promote its preservation, and promote the use of science and technology within the context of national development objectives (art. 47).
The 1960 Primary Education Act, as amended in 2019, includes in the statements that primary education is organised in such a way that the use of communication and information technology is promoted in schools.
Policies, plans and strategies: The Suriname ICT Vision 2030 Digital Development & Growth aims to implement innovative e-Services (IoE) and improve the e-Services in the following sectors: safety, government, financial, health, education, and transportation.
The Development Plan 2022-2026 recognises the importance and global trend of integrating ICTs into the various processes of the country, including ICT skills, Internet access, and infrastructure. In addition, it describes the implementation and utilisation of communication technologies within the educational system.
The 2014 National Strategic Policy Plan for ICT in Education aims to utilise ICT so that all Surinamese children have equal opportunities to develop their individuality. This goal is achieved through five intervention areas: the learning process and learning resources, teaching (pre-education and continuing education), a learning infrastructure that facilitates learning, school administration, and community engagement.
The Basic Education Improvement Program (Phase I: 2012-2016; Phase II 2016-2021) includes initiatives in ICT and the development of a national ICT in Education policy, strategies, and guidelines on how the use of technology can complement the delivery of the curriculum.
Digital competency frameworks: No information was found on the existence of a formal digital competency framework.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The Development Plan 2022-2026 mentions the strengthening of elements for the incorporation of technology and digital distance education.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
The 1960 Primary Education Act, as amended in 2019, mandates that if structural educational disadvantages exist as a result of external factors, the competent authority must develop a policy to eliminate them. (Article 7)
The 2014 National Strategic Policy Plan for ICT in Education identifies as a priority the establishment of a conducive learning environment, as well as the prioritisation of hardware selection (Internet access, networks, and devices) for schools, students, and teachers, as well as an emphasis on Internet access.
Electricity: The Basic Education Improvement Program includes the assessment of school infrastructure needs.
Computers and devices: The Development Plan 2022-2026 aims to establish and operate Education Centres to use learning resources and technology.
The 2014 National Strategic Policy Plan for ICT in Education mentions the need to introduce Clout computing with “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD).
Internet connectivity: According to Suriname ICT Vision 2030 Digital Development & Growth, the Surinamese government has highlighted universal access to Information Communication and Technologies as a primary goal of their ICT Vision 2030.
In Goal 2 on Inclusiveness, Suriname ICT Vision 2030 Digital Development & Growth outlines the objective to bridge the digital divide, provide broadband access to all Surinamese citizens, and enable the provision of broadband access to all Surinamese citizens. There is no non-tertiary education-specific objective.
The 2014 National Strategic Policy Plan for ICT in Education mentions the need to pay special attention to internet access, particularly the rollout of high-speed internet in the interior of the nation.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
The Education strategy of the Development Plan 2022-2026 includes the implementation of a distance learning ICT system. In addition, the organisation plans to implement a transition to distance learning via "digital proctoring," online platforms, collaborations with NGOs and the business community, and an analysis of existing pilot programs.
The 2014 National Strategic Policy Plan for ICT in Education aims to integrate ICT, particularly video, as a tool for self-reflection and professionalisation in teacher training and refresher courses. In addition, it aimed to steer primary education toward a blended learning environment comprised of classroom education and e-learning.
According to the 2014 National Strategic Policy Plan for ICT in Education, ICT is a formative component of the curriculum for all subjects. Additionally, it is an element of self- and world orientation (OJW).
One of the main policy priorities of the 2014 National Strategic Policy Plan for ICT in Education is the implementation support of ICT integration in the learning process, including ICT tools in the current curriculum framework and supported pedagogical and didactic teaching methods.
The Development Plan 2022-2026 proposes incorporating STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) and developing soft skills into primary, secondary, and tertiary education concerning the incorporation of STEM into the curriculum.
The Gender Policy Document 2021-2035 aims to encourage the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and improve access to it for women and girls as a strategy to increase their employment prospects and access to other economic opportunities.
The 2014 National Strategic Policy Plan for ICT in Education proposes to make ICT-related teacher training a top priority. It also proposes improving the quality of Pedagogical Institutes (PIs) so that ICT can be used effectively to teach learning strategies and so that students can integrate targeted pedagogical and didactic methods. It was proposed that integration begins with two themes: languages and math.
Regarding continuous education, the 2014 National Strategic Policy Plan for ICT in Education states that it is the State's responsibility to ensure that the new curriculum framework serves as the starting point and that Pedagogical Institutes (PIs) offer training and refresher courses beginning with the use of ICT in language and mathematics. In addition, it proposes creating opportunities for teachers to share their knowledge through online communities (open source), blogs (inviting colleagues to comment on practical teaching questions), TED education, etc.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The Privacy and Data Protection Act drafted in 2002 is still under consideration in the National Assembly.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
The 1960 Primary Education Act, as amended in 2019, mandates that the school must take action and report incidents involving, among other things, child abuse, sexual harassment/abuse, bullying, and discrimination against students. The school administration must notify parents if outside authorities are involved. In addition, article 30 stipulates that school regulations must provide students with clearly defined processes for filing complaints regarding, among other things, bullying, treatment, and evaluation (art 13).
The Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture is responsible for primary and secondary education in Suriname. The Directorate of Development Services is responsible for innovations in the Surinamese education sector.
The 1960 Primary Education Act, as amended in 2019, dictates that the school regulations must include rules for students' conduct and dress at school, as well as clear agreements for the use of mobile phones and other forms of communication (art. 30).