From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
by Paul Bacsich
For entities in Barbados see Category:Barbados
Partners and experts
Barbados in a nutshell
It is located at roughly 13° North of the equator and 59° West of the prime meridian, it is considered a part of the Lesser Antilles.
Its closest island neighbours are Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the west. To the south lies Trinidad and Tobago (with which Barbados now shares a fixed official maritime boundary) and also the mainland of South America.
Barbados's total land area is about 430 square kilometres (166 square miles), and is primarily low-lying, with some higher in the country's interior. The highest point in Barbados is Mount Hillaby in the parish of Saint Andrew.
The population is 284,000.
The capital is Bridgetown.
Barbados's Human Development Index ranking is consistently among the top 75 countries in the world. In report published in 2009, it was ranked 37th in the world, and third in the Americas, behind Canada and the United States. Although Barbados' history is heavily influenced by its mainstay of sugar production, the economy is now dominated by services and tourism. The country is one of the largest global bases for insurance companies, and a growing number of companies have been expanding call centres to Barbados.
Barbados is divided into eleven parishes, almost all named after Christian Saints.
Close to 90% of all Barbadians (also known colloquially as Bajan) are of African descent.
English is the sole official language of Barbados, and is used for communications, administration, and public services all over the island.
A regional variant of English, referred to locally as Bajan, is spoken by most Barbadians in everyday life, especially in informal settings. In its full-fledged form, Bajan sounds markedly different from the Standard English heard on the island. The degree of intelligibility between Bajan and general English varies depending on the speakers' origins and accent. (In rare instances, a Bajan speaker may be completely unintelligible to an outside English speaker if sufficient slang terminology is present in a sentence.) Spanish is considered the most popular second language on the island, followed by French.
In religion, most (95%) of Barbadians are Christians, chiefly of the Anglican Church.
Education in Barbados is fashioned after the British model (in particular, of England). The government of Barbados spends roughly 20% of its annual national budget on education.
Education is provided free of charge. All young people in the country must attend school from age 5 until age 16. Barbados' literacy rate is ranked close to 100%, with the Minister of Education stating that Barbados was in the top 5 countries worldwide for literacy rate thus placing the country alongside many of the industrialised nations of the world.
Barbados has over 70 primary schools, and over 20 secondary schools throughout the island. There are also a number of private schools catering to various teaching models including Montessori and International Baccalaureate.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Barbados for more detail.
Note that several schools (especially sixth form schools) are called "College" in Barbados.
Degree level education in the country is provided by the Barbados Community College (BCC), the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, and a local campus of the University of the West Indies, the Cave Hill campus.
Fore more details see http://www.barbados.gov.bb/education.htm - below are some highlights.
Barbados Community College
Barbados Community College was established in 1968. Its remit was amended in 1990 to empower the College to grant Bachelor Degrees, Associate Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates, to students who successfully complete approved programmes of study.
Its web site is http://www.bcc.edu.bb
The Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic offers technical and vocational training in the disciplines of Building, Business Studies, Automotive and Welding, Human Ecology, Mechanical Engineering and Printing, Electrical Engineering and Agriculture. Students receive a diploma and certificate in their area of study. It evolved out of the Technical Institute which was opened in 1952.
Its web site is http://www.sjpp.edu.bb
The Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education (CANQATE) is a professional body established as a sub-network of the worldwide organization, the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE). It is a new initiative in the field of Quality Assurance pertinent to tertiary education in the Caribbean - with strong links to Barbados.
The aims of CANQATE are compatible with those of INQAAHE. At the regional level, CANQATE will set up a framework for communication, and for academic, professional, and collegial support in quality assurance. See http://www.canqate.org/
In particular re e-learning see their Conference Proceedings at http://www.bac.gov.bb/canqate_2009/http://www.bac.gov.bb/canqate_2009/
ICT in education initiatives
Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic
In addition to the UWI offerings, Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic offers a number of its courses online. It notes that "Open and flexible means that you do not need to come onto campus for your lectures, but can study in the comfort and convenience of your home or some other place." Courses are offered online within each of the Polytechnic’s programmes and delivered fully online. These courses include:
For more details see http://www.sjpponline.edu.bb/
From the appearance of "online" on the front page and the list of courses offers, it would appear that this would qualify as a Programme.