Fifth Form Students to get Laptops by end of January 2011

This was the promise made on Tuesday, 11th January 2011 by Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas who at the time was speaking on that day’s edition of his radio programme, “Ask the PM”. 

The programme, dubbed the “One-to-One Laptop Project” was announced in 2009 and students were promised their laptops by September 2010. 

Dr. Douglas, however indicated that the “specially-designed” machines were scheduled to arrive in the Federation on Friday, 14th January 2010. 

“These laptops purchased by the government to strengthen our young people academically, and not to serve as further distractions,…will have filters to block pornography and various social networks and will be delivered to the Federation’s fifth formers this month, January. And before our summer vacation begins,” Dr. Douglas promised, “All other eligible students will also have received their laptops.” 

A press release issued by the St. Kitts Nevis Information Service (SKNIS) informs that according to Information and Communication Technology (ITC) Development Coordinator, Christopher Herbert, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis and Microsoft have made an arrangement which would see the installation of programmes including Microsoft Office on the laptops. 

“Mr. Herbert stated that the new relationship with Microsoft will significantly lower the cost of the initiative, but added that exposure to, and use of open source software, which is an important component of the project, will still take place,” the press release informed. 

The release explains that one of the aims of the project is to fit students which the requisite access to technology which is necessary if they are to effectively participate in the “digital age”. 

The government’s forward-thinking approach to education, does not only involve students but according to the release, a programme is also being constructed to promote digital literacy among teachers. 

“Meanwhile, the ICT Development Coordinator additionally revealed that a two tiered programme is being developed for teachers. The first tier will build the digital literacy of persons who are unfamiliar with the principles of computing while the second will demonstrate integrating the technology-based devices as teaching tools in executing the curriculum.”

“Similar computer literacy programmes targeting school students exist in a number of Caribbean countries. These include Suriname and Dominica. Also, Seventy nine of 152 secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago are now using Government laptops while Antigua and Barbuda recently signed a bilateral agreement with China to provide laptops for local students,” the release informed.

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