Kingston, Jamaica: Jamaica introduced GIS technology in the school curriculum. So far, 146 teachers have been trained in this subject, Jamaica Information Service reported. According to Minister of Housing, Environment, Water and Local Government, Hon Dr. Horace Chang, it is good that teachers are becoming more aware that GIS is an excellent learning tool, particularly in the teaching of geography in schools. Chang was addressing the GIS Day 2011 opening ceremony at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.
The minister said that GIS is designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage and display all types of geographically referenced data. He informed that approximately 60 educational institutions, mainly secondary schools as well as some tertiary ones, including teacher training colleges, are now delivering GIS courses.
He stressed that this integration of the technology into the curriculum is critical, as students should not just be able to read a map and state where parishes, countries and continents are, but should be able to comprehend and relate to the rapidly changing physical and cultural environments, locally and globally.
“GIS technology enables us to better understand and address the major issues and problems that our modern world now faces, including climate change, energy dependence, financial and economic markets, globalisation and local and regional conflicts,” he said.
Dr. Chang also commended the Land Information Council of Jamaica (LICJ), which has collaborated with the Ministry of Education to introduce GIS into schools. He also expressed the hope that the programme will continue to expose students to a technology that can help shape their lives.