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Dr Tim on delay of schol winners’ list: We feared legal backlash
Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh said the official list of 2012 national scholarship winners was not made public earlier to prevent “legal repercussions.” Gopeesingh, who spoke with reporters at St Mary’s College, Port-of-Spain, after distributing laptops to students who successfully passed the SEA exams, said he got permission from Attorney General Anand Ramlogan on Tuesday to publish the list.
The names of scholarship winners, their schools and type of scholarships were made public, via the ministry’s Web site yesterday. He said: “Last year, a lot of parents called in and expressed some dissatisfaction with the publication of the names and they raised the issue of the privacy of students, performance and so on. “I know previously the names had been published and we published it last year, so I needed to seek some legal counsel on the whole question.
Guardian Media Limited has made the full list available for download here: http://ht.ly/e3fGV.
“There are so many privacy laws now that have emanated so far, so we wanted to be sure if we published the names, there would be no repercussions.” Asked why the need for privacy would arise when taxpayers’ dollars were funding the scholarships, he said that was the reason he had consulted with the AG.
The minister then visited St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain, where he distributed more laptops and met with open scholarship winners. The school was awarded 28 scholarships, Five students received open schols. The minister said $180 million had been spent over the past three years on the HP laptops for successful SEA students. He added that by weekend, 17,400 laptops would have been given out for the academic year 2012/2013.
Asked if there were monitoring systems in place to assess whether the laptops were helping students academically, Gopeesingh said such tasks were being undertaken by the Curriculum and the Student Services Department of the ministry. He said it was charged with evaluating the performance of the students with the infusion of information technology into the syllabus. However, Gopeesingh said the jury was still out on whether the computers were improving academic performance but, he added, they had improved students’ information technology skills.
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