Last update: 09-Dec-2013 11:04 am
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Govt spends $58m on laptops this year
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says some 21,000 laptops will be distributed to Form One students next week, just in time for the start of the new school year. She made the announcement on Tuesday night as she addressed a ceremony for the commissioning of lights at the Dil Mohammed Recreation Ground, Rock Road, Penal.
She said she would join Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh next week in giving out the laptops, which cost the Government $58 million, to successful Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) students.
The laptops, she said, form part of the Government’s mission of “working towards modernising, developing and improving the quality of life.” Persad-Bissessar also defended the Government’s decision to distribute the laptops, saying the programme faced many detractors when it started in 2010, with some claiming they will be stolen and students will use the equipment for “bad things.”
However, she said that did not deter the Government and the laptops had improved the lives of thousands of students nationwide. She said: “The parents who could afford to buy tablets and iPhones and computers for their children, you know, but they did not want poor people children to get these computers. “That is why we said every child must have that chance. I am so proud to say that every child from Form One, Form Two, Form Three and Form Four will have a laptop. Why?
Thanks to the initiative.” Persad-Bissessar said by 2015 every secondary school student from Form One to Form Five would have a laptop. “That will be my first term in government, the five years...every child in the (secondary) schools will have a laptop,” she said. The commissioning of lights at the recreation ground was the culmination of a whirlwind afternoon on Tuesday for the Prime Minister in her Siparia constituency.
She kicked off the afternoon with a meeting with students of the Lady Hochoy School, Penal, who were successful in the floor hockey competition at the Special Olympics Winter Games 2013 in South Korea. She then went on to tour the Clarke Road, Penal, sites for the construction of the Parvati Girls’ Hindu College and the Shiva Boys’ College.
Persad-Bissessar said she was pleased with the progress of the new school buildings. She said funding for them was obtained while she was education minister under the Basdeo Panday United National Congress (UNC) government but construction never began. “Thirteen years later, we are back here building these schools.
Construction started earlier this year. Thirteen years ago these schools were approved, monies were approved...the rest is history... we went out of government. “I am really happy to be here and they will be completed by November next year.” After her tour, Persad- Bissessar headed to the Morne Diablo Recreation Ground, Penal, where she commissioned the lights for the grounds.
Her final stop was the commissioning of lights at Dil Mohammed Recreation Grounds. She said so far 200 recreation grounds have been illuminated around the country by T&TEC. The illumination, she explained, was in keeping with the recommendations of the Selwyn Ryan report which suggested that focus should be placed on sports as a tool in the fight against crime.
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