Last update: 10-Dec-2013 10:54 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Tim buys 3,300 extra laptops for St Lucia
A total of 3,300 of the 21,500 Lenovo Thinkpad laptops bought by the People’s Partnership Government, at a cost of $58 million, will be shipped to St Lucia as part of a government-to-government Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh said yesterday.
He made the comment during a telephone interview in response to questions as to why Government had purchased a few thousand more computers for distribution to the students who had sat Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam this year. He said the agreement was the culmination of discussions between the Education Ministry and St Lucian Education Minister Robert Kennedy Joseph. He said Joseph will arrive next week to sign the MOU for the repayment of $7.9 million for the extra laptops.
While Gopeesingh could not give a date of repayment of the money for the laptops, he was confident it would be “paid back very quickly.” He said Joseph intended to distribute the 3,300 laptops to Fourth Form students in St Lucia. He said his ministry would be providing technical support to St Lucia for its laptop programme. He said he also had offered to provide teacher-training to the St Lucian Government.
Gopeesingh said the new laptops for this year’s distribution have been purchased at a cost of $2,400 each, which he said was a saving of $450 a unit. He said at the end of this year, 70,000 laptops would have been distributed to secondary school students from Form One to Form Four. Gopeesingh added all principals at primary and secondary school levels and school supervisors have received laptops.
He said the ministry was also close to establishing Information Computer Technology (ICT) linkages with teachers, principals and the ministry. The minister added tenders would be sent out for the installation of Internet and Wifi provisions at schools. He said all secondary schools have one to six computer labs and the 476 primary schools each have computer labs. Gopeesingh added that 4,000 teachers at varying levels have been trained in the infusion of the curriculum with ICT.
He said T&T’s laptop programme had ranked the country among top countries integrating IT with education. Education Ministry media relations co-ordinator Yolanda Morales-Carvalho, speaking with the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview, assured all 18,000 students who sat the SEA would receive their new laptops, the first batch of which are expected to begin arriving next week, before the units earmarked for St Lucia were shipped.
She added: “The 21,500 included 3,300 laptops which we have purchased for the Government of St Lucia and the agreement is that they are going to pay back their amount. “We benefitted from the purchase. We were buying in more volume so the price was better,” Morales-Carvalho said.
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