ST. JOHN’S, Antigua & Barbuda: Students with learning disabilities stand to benefit from what is being described as a “tangible donation” from China towards the advancement of Information and Communication Technology in Antigua and Barbuda.
Three hundred and ninety Lenovo laptops were presented to the Ministry of Education last week by Chinese Ambassador Liu Hanming, on behalf of his government, making good on a promise made more than a year ago.
Liu said he was pleased to deliver the systems on behalf of the People’s Republic of China, adding that “it is the young generation that will be the future of the country, and so the knowledge gained will be important to them, and the computers will be good gifts that will bring them closer to developments around the world.”
Liu re-affirmed his government’s intention to further deepen an almost 30-year relationship that exists between the two countries.
In accepting the gifts, Minister of Education, Sports, Youth & Gender Affairs, Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, said the delivery of the laptops will significantly boost the existing “One Laptop per Child” program which was conceptualized by Prime Minister Dr. Baldwin Spencer and the education minister.
“The laptops help eager young minds to become digital natives who are more informed and engaged in their classrooms and their community.
“This One Laptop per Child initiative will compliment what the Ministry of Information is currently doing along with partners, LIME, in equipping our teachers with their own laptops and connectivity.
“This is a significant step in the very big picture, that broader vision of ensuring wide-scale access of both teachers and students to the vast technological landscape and, ultimately, enhancing the way we teach and learn.”
Prime Minister Dr. Spencer, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, on hand to witness the handover, said that his government is well on its way towards ensuring each student receives a laptop. He said the Chinese have begun the process in a small way, but anticipates that they will play a greater role in contributing to the initiative, along with other stakeholders.
The laptops will be configured and distributed among special educational needs students, to assist in enhancing the quality of education they currently receive.
It was during a state visit to Antigua and Barbuda in 2010 that Chinese State Councillor, Madame Liu Yangdong, pledged her government’s assistance in providing the computers.