By Caribbean News Global contributor
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – The St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), NextGen SKN candidate for St Christopher 8, Dr Terrance Drew has given an assurance that the NEXTGEN labour party administration will reinstate the one-to-one lap top programme for Grade 5 students entering the high school as well as all high schools in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis.
“Young people must have easy access to information technology and all must condemn the Timothy Harris PLP/CCM/PAM coalition and its minister of education Shawn Richards for stopping the programme when they assumed office in 2015 and depriving our children and students of this important educational and research tool,” said Dr Drew.
“We must help parents who cannot afford to purchase laptops or desktop computers. Our students should no longer have to go by neighbours to do or complete assignments or to research,” said Dr Drew, who viewed the one-to-one laptop programme which was funded jointly by the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the St Kitts-Nevis labour government, “as removing a barrier to attaining a sound education and providing an equal opportunity for all students.”
Deputy prime minister and minister of education, Shawn Richards, stopped the programme and is on the record as stating that the one-to-one laptop programme was a waste of time and resources.
All high school students from Forms 2 – 5 received laptops prior to September 2013. In November 2014, just over 1,500 new Dell 3340 laptops were distributed to all Form 1 students in private and public secondary schools in both St Kitts and Nevis. Sixth Grade students were to receive theirs in 2015.
Shadow minister of education, Dr Geoffrey Hanley is also committed to returning laptops/tablets to Secondary and Primary Schools across the Federation on labour’s return to the government stating that the laptops will belong to the students and teachers and will not be on-loan.
“We asked that they [laptops] be cared for,” said Hanley, who introduced computers to the entire Bronte Welsh Primary School in Boyd’s while serving as principal.
The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis had the highest percentage of internet users in the Caribbean according to World Development Indicators 2012. It said 79 percent of the population in St Kitts and Nevis were internet users among 21 countries including Colombia, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago; and the United States Virgin Islands.