Last update: 04-Dec-2013 12:33 pm
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Govt to spend $12m on electronics for primary schools
Multimedia projectors, 55-inch Smart TVs and radios with CD players will be distributed to schools in six weeks in a bid to make T&T’s primary school pupils as tech-savvy as their secondary school counterparts. The Ministry of Education yesterday announced its intention to distribute 500 of each of the equipment to primary schools throughout T&T at a cost of $12 million.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar while she distributed Lenovo Thinkpad laptops to students at St James Secondary School yesterday. Persad-Bissessar also announced that 428 students who sat CAPE examinations this year would receive Government scholarships. Education Minister Tim Gopeesingh said after the function that the Government had saved $400 per unit this year on its purchase of laptops to students entering Form One at secondary schools.
Government purchased 21,000 laptops at a cost of $58 million—18,000 of the laptops will be distributed in T&T while 3,000 will be sent to St Lucia as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with that country. Gopeesingh said St Lucia would be paying the Government for the laptops shipped to them. He said ministry had also sent out a tender for a provider of wifi Internet services to schools. “We have broadband connectivity increasing to 25 megabytes for primary schools and 50 megabytes for secondary schools.”
Gopeesingh said the ministry did its part to ensure the use of the laptops for educational purposes. “You will always find some aberrant dysfunctional use (of the laptops) but in the mainstream the positives that have emanated by the giving of the computer have thrown the education process miles ahead of those who do not have it,” he said. “If you do not have IT (information technology) in education you will be left behind.”
“We gave them the laptops for them to be educated in information, communication technology, to relate to teachers and peers on homework.” Gopeesingh said the ministry did not mandate how the laptops were integrated into the school curriculum. “The principals and teachers are the ones who manage the use of the laptops. As far as the information we are getting, the children bring the laptops to school,” the minister said.
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