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Education Minister: Steps in place for better laptop use in schools
Minister of Education Tim Gopeesingh has said he is aware of the concern that students are improperly using the laptops given to them after their success at the SEA examinations. The minister said so while being interviewed yesterday outside of Parliament on the International Waterfront in Port-of-Spain.
“We have been finding out where there have been improper use and there is an administrative system for the management of it and therefore we are on top of it, despite the fact that many people think we are not,” Gopeesingh said. However, Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) first vice president Davanand Sinanan believes that the laptops, distributed to form one students, are in many instances, used as toys.
Sinanan expressed this during a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian. He said he believes that this is so because the laptops are not being incorporated into the teaching and learning process in the classrooms. And while he does not condemn the one laptop per child programme, he thinks that the way in which it was implemented does not allow for the most effective use of the technology.
Goopeesingh, however, does not agree with the view that teachers have not been trained to utilise the laptops as teaching aids. “They may not have been trained at the highest level, Level 4 but we have had over 3, 500 teachers being trained and we continue the training with the assistance of the Ministry of Tertiary Education and the National Training Agency,” he said.
Sinanan thinks that a lack of infrastructure is to be blamed. He said the laptops are not connected and networked in the classroom. “Even if a teacher wants to use the laptops there are no facilities,” he said. The minister also said they are working to ensure that all schools have wi-fi (wireless internet) which should be in place shortly along with a dedicated television channel.
He said the training was inadequate and that more teachers need to incorporate the laptops into everyday use in the classrooms. Sinanan believes that reports of stolen, lost or destroyed laptops have been miniscule. He said this has not been a major problem but are isolated incidents.
Minister Gopeesingh said from the ministry’s last assessment, approximately 259 of the laptops distributed to form one students have been damaged. He said that most of them have already been repaired.
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