High School and College Students To Receive Laptop Computers
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
August 26, 2010 (CUOPM)
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is set to launch the first phase of a project that provides high school and college students with their personal laptops by the end of the first term of the new school year.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said the laptops must be valued and viewed as the key to intellectual liberation and academic advancement.
“I urge all recipients, then, to see them, and use them, as stepping stones to upward mobility and empowerment,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He said his recently elected St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government in its commitment to close the digital divide in the twin-island Federation, is continuing to building on that record of uplift and liberation begun under the First National Hero and Father of Independence, the Right Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw when, in the late 1960’s, despite howls of objection from many, opened the nation’s secondary schools to all children, regardless of race, class, gender or religion.
“For the first time, then, because of the Labour Government, every single child in St. Kitts and Nevis was given the opportunity to be exposed to information, and skills, and ideas, and knowledge which had heretofore been especially reserved for the select few. The lasting power of that moment was crystallized in the fact that for the first time, a brilliant child in some rural hamlet, given the same books and the same teachers as a child from more comfortable circumstances, knew what it felt like to actually flower ““ and bloom, and grows. For the first time in St. Kitts and Nevis, if any child, anywhere, really applied him or herself, all things really were possible,” Dr. Douglas said on his weekly radio call-in programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”
“Since then, though, times have changed. No longer is it enough for a child of constrained circumstances to simply be given a pile of books with the understanding that there was now a somewhat level playing field – and that with discipline and dedication, all things were possible. Gone are the days when, as long as everyone had the same reading material and the same instruction, it was a matter of one brain against the other regardless of gender or class,” said Dr. Douglas.
He noted that in the Caribbean today with education fully integrated into a globalised world, the child who has to trudge to a friend’s house after school with the hope that they’ll be given a chance to use the computer or to the public library or an internet cafÃ© after school and hope that the lines aren’t too long, or that the facility does not close on him and is at a severe handicap if the child has neither friend, library, nor internet cafÃ©.
“By the time that child goes to the address containing a computer, waits for a computer, uses the computer if he or she is lucky, and then returns home, those hours they spent in search of a computer would have been put to far more productive use by those of his classmates fortunate enough to have computers at home,” said the Prime Minister.
Dr. Douglas said that St. Kitts and Nevis is not a wealthy nation, especially in these economically difficult times the world over.
“However, my Government is committed to ensuring that by the end of this term, every Fifth Former will have access to a laptop, because we wish to encourage and facilitate the hard work and dedication that CXC’s demand,” said Prime Minister who told students and their families that with rights come responsibilities.
“A lap top does not cost $5.00. Most importantly, not every student in every country has access to this equipment. These items must therefore be valued and viewed as the key to intellectual liberation and academic advancement that they can be. I urge all recipients, then, to see them, and use them, as stepping stones to upward mobility and empowerment. As a path to constructive information and knowledge. As a path to greater efficiency,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.