August 26, 2011
More laptops arrive from Venezuela

Five thousand more laptops have arrived in the country, as part of the government’s ‘one laptop per child’ initiative – according to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.{{more}}

At a press conference on Monday, August 22, PM Gonsalves said that the laptops arrived on Saturday, August 20 – four days later than originally expected.

The prime minister extended sincere thanks to the government of Venezuela, especially president Hugo Chavez and foreign minister Nicolas Maduro.

Gonsalves said that he has been assured by the Ministry of Education that the laptops will be dispensed as soon as is feasibly possible, taking into consideration its more pressing commitments to school renovations, and the upcoming professional development week for teachers.

“They will get to it,” affirmed the prime minister. “We will hear more about that.”

Gonsalves also said that laptops for fourth and fifth form students will be arriving in due course; and that he has made special arrangements with the Commonwealth Secritariat to provide resources that will enable local government to purchase the licences for Windows software to be installed on the laptops.

He further addressed the need for students (who already have laptops) and parents to take care of the equipment.

Gonsalves said that he has received many reports of damage to the laptops – mainly cracked screens. He also spoke of one laptop that was ruined because a parent had taken it into the sea.

“Even though they are sturdy, you just can’t throw it down,” he admonished.

“You have to handle it with care.”

He added: “It is already a tremendous initiative… We really should not add to the problems we have on an ongoing basis… by being careless.”

Gonsalves spared a moment to address the relative minority who are against the laptop initiative, and the concept of the education revolution in general.

“I don’t know why people just can’t accept that the education revolution is a very good thing,” he said.

Gonsalves acknowledged that the education revolution has its challenges; as do most systems.

“If you ask me, the greatest challenge has to do with inadequate engagement by parents in the education of their children,” he said.

Gonsalves said that he thinks there should be a national campaign to address that issue, and urged parents to take a more vested interest in what their children are doing at school.

He added that he is aware that there may be hurdles that parents face in doing so, but that it is nothing that cannot be overcome.

“There are enough resources available to provide a helping hand!”(JV)