Laptop Computers For Students
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 09, 2010 (SKNIS)
Young people in St. Kitts and Nevis engaged in lively and topical discussions about the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to personal and national development on Tuesday (September 07).
The debates were part of a Youth Forum organized by representatives from the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunication Authority (ECTEL) in collaboration with the Departments of Youth Empowerment and Information Technology, as well the National Telecommunication Regulatory Council (NTRC). The one-day event was held at the ICT Center and is part of the 10th anniversary celebration of ECTEL.
Minister responsible for Youth and Information Technology, Honourable Glenn Phillip, noted that it was critical to engage young people in ICT development processes, so as to create opportunities where they can share their vision on ways to use current and emerging technologies to create new economic and social benefits.
The participants learnt about the application of ICT in Business and Entertainment as well as the vast opportunities of online education. Government’s One to One Laptop Project – which will provide laptops to all secondary school students – was also thoroughly reviewed.
Government’s ICT Development Coordinator, Christopher Herbert told the students that the project was originally conceived 15 years ago as part of a human resource development programme.
“I’m certain that some of you who are old enough will remember that primary schools received computer labs around 1995. That was a thrust towards information literacy,” he stated. The establishment of computer labs in secondary schools then followed.
The reduction in the cost of technology and the ease of access to research tools and study applications made the One to One project practical at this time. Mr. Herbert noted that this project while new to St. Kitts and Nevis, has been successfully implemented in various countries around the world. As such, the project taskforce reviewed the experiences of different models and extracted best practices to help smooth the introduction of the laptop initiative in the Federation.
When prompted by a high school student concerned about the dangers of taking the laptops home, Mr. Herbert explained that Government has developed an acceptable use policy.
“The laptops are not to be used outside the realm of education,” he explained. “So it is not a case where the kids are able to take home the laptops and just plug into their internet connection and doing whatever they want. Internet access will be via the Government Education Network (EDUNET) solely, so the requisite filtering and monitoring tools are in place.”
The IT official also disclosed that Wi-Fi (wireless) hotspot zones with an 8 to 10 mile radius will be established around the Federation to allow all students to access the EDUNET. The distribution of the laptops will be done in three phases over a one year period.