Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, on Monday revealed that government will expend $1.7 billion to pay for 9,609 laptops which it has decided will be disseminated to “educators, students, institutions of learning and community-based organisations.”
The laptops were ordered by the former administration under the One Laptop per Family Project (OLPF) and were to be the last to be disseminated.
He further shared that $937million “has been allocated to the E-Government Network network, over which access to many of the services envisaged will be provided.”
He was, at the time, presenting the long-delayed Budget 2015 during the sixth sitting of the 11th Parliament.
Jordan also said that plans will be made to establish sustained communication between parents and educational authorities, and to improve provisions for distance learning.
“Distance learning will be substantially expanded as a tool of teaching and learning of the educational sector.”
He explained that these investments are geared toward ensuring that “that our children benefit from the affordable access to the best learning-resources that are available…and that teachers are equipped to guide…and that parents can have sustained engagements with teachers and school administration” to provide a support system.”
The current administration, however, since assuming executive power, has decided on new criteria which are to determine who benefits from the incoming laptops.
Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman, had said during a post-Cabinet press-conference that he believes teachers should be priortised to benefit from the incoming batch of laptops. Jordon said on Monday that the “discredited and corrupted” OLPF project has been re-branded the One Laptop per Teacher (OLPT) project.
The OLPF project commenced in 2012 and the former administration had said that 95,000 laptops were to be allocated by the end of 2015. To date, 55,000 laptops have been disseminated.