Was 95,000 Laptop Giveaway Worth It?

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Here are some raw facts of the computer laptop giveaway to secondary school students for the five years leading to 2015.

Some 95,000 laptops were given out and there were breakdowns of some 15,000, with internet connectivity at 95 per cent of the schools.

About 150 ICT technicians were trained and there were computer laboratories in 89 per cent of secondary schools.

A total of 8,747 students make use of school computer laboratories each week. Of the labs, 114 have five of more computers.

There are 21 Samsung Smart Classrooms, with the full computer works.

Some 70 per cent of students use their laptops for homework or for creating of editing presentations, while 45 per cent undertake word processing functions.

A total of 66 per cent of students reported that the laptops encouraged them to study more, while 100,586 people at homes helped students with their homework using the computers.

At the homes of 4,172 students, the laptops were the only computer instruments.

At certain schools, virtually all teachers use the laptops in the preparation of their work, while 83 per cent use Microsoft Word and 65 per cent direct students to use the internet.

A total of 83 per cent of teachers use laptops in preparing lessons, scheme of works and related functions, while 62 per cent make use of the computers for multimedia presentations.

About 6,000 principals and teachers received ICT training during the period.

In 2014, an education symposium of the Organisation of American States (OAS) complimented Trinidad and Tobago for its commitment to best practice in the use of ICT at schools.

All these initiatives were undertaken under the leadership of Dr. Tim Gopeesingh, Minister of Education in the PP administration.

The Keith Rowley administration has repeatedly declined to reinstitute the laptop project, stating that there is no evidence that it contributes to improved educational attainment.

There have, however, been several international studies that indicate increased success through the use of computers as a tool of learning.

The previous administration has seen the computer project as a cornerstone is developing human capital for a modern, diversified and knowledge-based economy.

What are your thoughts?

Is the schools’ laptop venture worth the cost of taxpayers? Is it delivering educational results?

If so, is the Rowley administration playing partisan politics in abandoning the schools’ computer laptop giveaway?

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