One hundred and sixty-eight laptops have been distributed by the Ministry of Education for use by pupils and teachers, as the new school term moves ahead in a virtual format.
The laptops were delivered during a brief hand-over ceremony at the Ministry of Education in Port of Spain yesterday.
Seventy of the devices were given for use by Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) teachers, while 98 laptops were made available to public special schools for use by children with special educational needs.
The new school term officially began on Monday but, according to the Ministry of Education, some 65,000 pupils have no access to devices or Internet connectivity to be able to participate in virtual teaching.
In a statement yesterday, the ministry said the Lenovo branded devices form part of its thrust toward ensuring all learners have access to education in this “new normal” brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As lessons, timetables and resources are prepared within this week, the ministry continues to champion the cause for teachers and students who may not have access to devices or connectivity,” the ministry stated.
Last week, Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly urged corporate Trinidad and Tobago to get involved and aid in the provision of devices to those pupils in need, as she said the online method is the best alternative to face-to-face teaching.
She said then the Government would consider providing devices to some pupils, but that corporate T&T must do its part.
The ministry said yesterday it is in discussions with more than 15 corporate entities on the matter.
“The distribution of devices is being done in tandem with the Adopt-A-School Initiative, where over 15 corporate entities and NGOs within Trinidad and Tobago are in discussions with the MoE to contribute to the development of the nation’s children through sponsorship of digital devices and internet connectivity,” it said.
One business has already stepped in to offer assistance in the form of access to computers and Internet to primary and secondary school pupils.
S&S Persad Supermarket plans to launch its “back to school” initiative today, aimed at assisting pupils in Rio Claro, Mayaro and environs.
Through this initiative, the supermarket is offering free computer and Internet usage and free printing services for pupils, by appointment.
Pupils desirous of using this service can contact the supermarket at 219-7309 or 226-4777.
Persons or organisations interested in donating devices to pupils may contact the Ministry of Education at 688-1911 or 622-2181, ext 1429 and 1426; or by e-mailing email@example.com.
Pupils without devices can view educational programmes on television. The ministry said Channel 4 will provide educational content daily from 8 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. The programming will cover mathematics, English language, science and music. Educational programming will also be aired on CCN TV6.