The Information technology syllabus for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) reflects that belief that Information Technology is essential to the economic and social development of the region.
The widespread use of Information Technology, the tools and techniques for gathering, manipulating, analysing and disseminating information, which was made possible because of improvements in computer and telecommunications technology, has significantly changed society. A large proportion of business transactions is now performed over computer networks. Multimedia computers have had a significant impact on the ways in which people learn, and on the ways they seek entertainment.
The increased integration of computer and telecommunications technology, exemplified by the Internet and associated technologies, has led to an increased globalisation of the world economy, It is now possible to use a telephone line to transfer information between computers located anywhere in the world. Internet and associated technologies have changed personal communication, commerce and the way in which academic research is conducted.
Moreover, as the world becomes familiar with the potential of Information Technology, people are beginning to realise that many problems and situation which were hitherto thought of as primarily involving physical activities, in fact rely for their solution on the ready availability of relevant information.
In order for the Caribbean to participate in and contribute to this new world, it is essential that Caribbean people become familiar with this technology. This not only implies that they must know how to use the technology from a purely technical point of view; but also means that they must be conscious of the impact of Information Technology. In particular, they must be made aware that the appropriate use of Information Technology can help solve problems that they are facing in their daily lives, whether they be of an economic, social or personal nature, and the Information Technology provides opportunities for economic development, as well as for further integration of the region.
However, the increase used of Information Technology also raises a number of ethical, legal and political issues, ranging from questions concerning privacy of information about individuals, to intellectual property right.
The introduction of Information Technology without careful consideration often worsens a problem, rather than solves it. Any decision to turn to Information Technology, must, therefore, be preceded by a critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed solution. In addition, Information Technology has made access to information and misinformation far easier. It is therefore, crucial that anyone, before using any information, first critically evaluate its reliability.