Lost in Cyberspace
Many are wondering where are our children today? The answer is that they are literally lost in cyberspace. What are they doing there? How are they faring? The truth is that they are not the only ones lost there.
Since the movement to online learning, many students have been needlessly left behind. While learning to navigate the world-wide web is the way of the future, we must be careful that no child is left behind. While much effort has been made to utilise online platforms, books and face to face learning should not be neglected. Books constitute a safe learning place. At any given point and time, we can know where our children are by page number, chapter and syllabus. Use of the tablet on the other hand, requires discipline to stay on target. Many students lack the discipline to stay away from cartoons, video games, movies, and social media, and to focus on their online studies. Parents are given the impossible task to monitor students’ whereabouts while they are online. Some of these parents feel lost on the web. It is frustrating for them not to have the skills to guide and direct their children only to wholesome sites.
At one time the sky was the limit. Now, however, it appears that the tablet is the limit. Its limitations remind us that one size does not fit all. Some students should have been allowed to access another device that would have better met their educational needs. In any case, there should be available at all schools, technicians who can help with maintenance of both software and hardware.
We hear about smart clinics and hospitals, but practitioners are not yet able to access patient information online from all sources in the system. Even at the local clinics, record keeping by pen and paper dominates. There can be advantages to letting health practitioners have ready access to online patient information.
The marketing section of the Ministry of Agriculture should provide information to farmers on what crops to grow and when. Weather information and soil types countrywide are also useful information that can benefit farmers.
Hiding statistics about the achievement of our students by the Ministry of Education is not beneficial to the stakeholders in education. In an information age, knowledge is power, and when people know how our schools perform, they would be better positioned to work to improve the system. Ideas must be allowed to flow freely and parents empowered to choose the kind of education they want for their children. Is this also a case of lost in Cyberspace?
The Departments that deal with finance should be the most efficiently run. They must be proactive in the collection and accounting for the taxes of the country. In this day and age, when taxes are paid in Union Island, they should be reflected immediately in the ledgers in Kingstown. Contrary to this, many of these accounts seem to be lost in Cyberspace. We cannot afford to have last year’s audit lost in Cyberspace. We need timely and Up-to-date reports from the Public Accounts Committee.
A visit to any Government Department should not result in sending us around the mulberry bush. We should be kindly and confidently directed to the relevant department or website to have our matter addressed.
E-learning and e-Government are tools that should help us accomplish our tasks at hand. It means that we must get the job done with the tools we have. If an electronic saw is not available, we can use an electric saw, or even a hand saw. Our community libraries should not be left to ruin, let us empower our librarians and have them teaming with students again.
We cannot afford to have any of them lost in Cyberspace.
In the final analysis, education and redemption are one. Our preachers cannot be too heavenly-minded that they cannot encourage us to be fully grounded on earth. The wise will choose to read, whether it is the local newspapers, library books, texts, kindle or in cyberspace. Daniel 1:17 says,” God made the four young men smart and wise. They read a lot of books and became well educated.”
Anthony Stewart, PhD