CASTRIES: Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has announced that his government is seeking to revolutionize the nation’s education system by eliminating the need for books in the classroom.
Dr. Anthony, who is also finance minister, made his intentions known to students in the south of the island last week as they became part of the distribution network of thousands of laptop computers.
Under the Secondary School Laptop Program established by the Ministry of Education, 3,300 laptops are being provided to fourth form students to assist them in preparing for exams in the coming year.
“I suspect that in the next five or possibly 10 years, children attending secondary school will no longer be required obtain books, and parents will be relieved of the task of digging deep to find funds to purchase text books come September,” said Anthony. “Because all the textbooks you would require will be on a laptop that you are going to have to accompany you to school. That day will soon come.”
Anthony, a former teacher and Minister of Education, said his government was moving to modify teaching styles and techniques to prepare students for the changes.
“We have a responsibility as a government and a country to prepare you,” he said.
Anthony described the laptop distribution program as an “equalizer”, enabling students from all backgrounds to access computers.
Education minister, Dr. Robert Lewis, announced that the laptops were procured via a joint purchase with the Government of Trinidad & Tobago, where a similar program for schools has been run for the past three years. Dr. Lewis said government was able to spend less than the estimated EC$6million (US$1=37EC cents) previously allocated for the purchase of the devices.
Lewis said that the provision of computers to schools falls in line with ongoing technological advances in the school curriculum.
“We are just concluding a major project which is financed largely by the European Union, including the development of a policy for the integration of ICT (information and communications technology) in managing education to the use of ICT in the teaching-learning process itself,” he said.
All laptops have several security features which will track and disable the units if they are stolen.