Urgent solutions needed for youth
Tue, 10/25/2016 - 12:00am
Dr. Justin Robinson, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences UWI, Cave Hill, made the point that our school system is creating a world class elite but quite a large number are falling through the cracks leaving a need for urgent solutions.
Troy Weekes, Founder of EZ Learner has brought a product to assist in tackling this challenge, an education model that converts students from being passive consumers to active producers of their own knowledge.
As one of the panellist at the International Business Week Public Discussion Forum, “International Business: Breaking Down Barriers” last week at Grande Salle, elaborated, “Education is not new so innovation is required to prepare our schools for the digital education demands for the 21st century. The quality of instruction is the key to success, we therefore invest in every teacher, and we work closely with our teachers to build their capacity at integrating technology in the class room.
"There is a huge demand for a well-structured coherent high quality curriculum of culturally relevant content. EZ Learner is a provider of technology and services for schools, teachers and students in the English speaking Caribbean, we commercialised the online distribution of educational apps and premium digital content for the success of primary school children. Today we attract and employ workers in Barbados and Jamaica who are creatives and academics.”
He continued, “Our target market is estimated at about 1.3 million Caribbean primary school students. There is no doubt that the Caribbean Primary school enrolment rates are high, the regional literacy are also relatively high and Barbados consistently ranking among the top 20 in the world.
“However, the problem arises with the constraints in teaching time and challenge of providing each student with personalised instructions. Teachers buckle under heavy workloads and large class sizes, students have to contend with a one size fits all approach… more than 50 per cent of them fail in exams every year because they fall through the cracks of the educational system.
“EZ learner has been created to solve these major problems by providing high quality personalised instruction, it builds strategic alliances to provide cost effective educational software and content to government and charitable projects which distribute laptops and tablets to students and teachers, such project have been launched in Barbados, Jamaica etcetera.
The vison of EZ learner is to be universally recognised as the easy way to learn, to accomplish this vision we combine the essentials of social learning, mobile learning, gamified learning and analytics driven learning.”
The young entrepreneur acknowledged, “As a Caribbean entrepreneur access to finance and raising capital has been a barrier, in my journey at the point where I wanted to take my coded prototype to market I was cornered between the idea of EZ learner and the risk associated with it, such as technological risks etcetera. These risks were overcome through patience and adaptability, but the financial challenges were not so easy to deal with. I applied everywhere for financial assistance and repeatedly heard no but as you can imagine it stretched me to the limit. However, it dawned on me I would have to invest in myself and I did. I invested in my company and most importantly, – I believed in my vision.
“With financial resources invested, I was able to recruit a small team and obtain an endorsement from the Ministry of Education; pilot test in five Barbadian schools, one Trinidadian special needs school; and penetrate three regional markets… The impact of our business has the
potential to catapult the economic growth of Barbados. EZ learner has the capacity for growth especially with the nurturing of a new generation of critical thinkers, confident communicators…” (NB)