The Distance Education Unit, established in the Ministry in May 2004, has a mandate to develop and implement strategies for the modernization of the distance learning services of the Ministry of Education (MOE).
The Unit will do this by:
- Developing policy for distance education and lifelong learning;
- Serving as a centre of expertise for open and distance learning and its applications within the Ministry of Education;
- Sourcing, adapting and developing distance-delivered programmes;
- Creating an enabling environment to support the widespread use of distance learning modalities;
- Championing initiatives to establish a sustainable SchoolNetT&T system; and
- Promoting open and distance learning as a feasible complementary modality in the pursuit of lifelong learning.
Who We Are
The Unit is headed by a Project Manager and includes Coordinators for Information and Communication Systems; Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Programmes; Marketing and Communication; and Research issues in Open and Distance Learning.
The strategic focus of the Distance Education Unit is to create an efficient and effective organizational structure to develop, manage and support a sustainable open school system for lifelong learning in Trinidad and Tobago.
This Open and Distance Learning initiative will service the in-school population, provide a safety net to school dropouts of any age and provide a “second chance” education to those who cannot attend conventional schools for a variety of social and economic reasons.
The Distance Education Unit will champion the establishment of an open school system in Trinidad and Tobago by collaborating with divisions and departments within and external to the MOE to implement initiatives, programmes and projects. The Unit’s main goals for the period 2006 – 2010 are as follows:
- To establish an organizational structure with the necessary personnel and functional and support areas to govern, develop, manage and sustain an open school system;
- To develop and/or adapt distance learning courses and resources in print and electronic media formats in areas aligned with the curriculum outcomes of the MOE;
- To convert the MOE’s traditional face-to-face print educational offerings to multimedia distance education (DE) formats;
- To provide professional development via blended distance learning approaches to teachers seeking training in areas pertaining to ICT integration in the curriculum;
- To develop and implement an ODL delivery and support system for students (lifelong learners) and ODL tutors;
- To establish an ODL resource centre at the Distance Education Unit;
- To establish a system for research, monitoring and evaluation; and
- To market distance education as a feasible compliment/alternative to traditional modes of study.
- Policy development
- Instructional design for open and distance learning
- Knowledge management
- Content development
- Training in the use of instructional technologies for open and distance learning
- Online education delivery systems
- Implementing open standards, open education resources and open source applications
Projects undertaken by the Unit in recent times include:
- Organizing the Caribbean Association for Distance and Open Learning (CARADOL) launch and symposium
- The Annual National Schools CyberFair
- SchoolnetT&T cluster projects
- VUSSC – Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth
- Establishing an Open and Distance Learning Resource Center
- Distributing Open Education Resources to schools
- Introducing teacher educators to educational technologies for teacher training
- Piloting the use of collaborative technologies for teaching and learning, such as
- Interactive whiteboards
Our major strategic partner is the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) - an intergovernmental organization based in Vancouver, Canada, and created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. COL helps developing nations improve access to quality education and training.
At present, COL is working closely with the Unit to execute a number of key initiatives within the Ministry of Education.
Distance Education Unit
18 Abercromby Street
Port of Spain
Tel: (868) 625-2615
Fax: (868) 627-9861