FIRST VICE PRESIDENT of the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Marlon Seales said the allocation of laptops to schools could present a security risk at the institutions.
“If it is known that these valuable equipment are available at the schools, without the added infrastructural upgrade we see a problem with in-house security. It makes schools targets. This was an issue when they were setting up the labs, but those labs had adequate infrastructure.
“The association would have preferred that the infrastructure be put in place first before the laptops are distributed. Even when we heard about the distribution of the laptops, we are not getting details about that. What we are not hearing is how schools would be secured.”
Government had announced that it was changing the laptop initiative, and this would now see 50 laptops being given to each secondary school instead of to students.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia said the intention was ensuring that all form one students had access to the laptops in the classroom.
Former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had started the initiative to distribute laptops to each form one student, but was criticised for this action. However, she said the then Opposition did not understand the benefits of investing in education.
Seales said he did not know how this new initiative would work.
“Given the fact the Education Ministry is embarking on testing at a level of the CXC and CAPE exams, then 50 laptops being distributed among students and teachers is totally inadequate.
“It is going towards the schools, but we do not know what percentage is going towards the staff and students. Are they going to be used class by class? Is one class supposed to access the laptops one at a time?”
A secondary school teacher, speaking on condition of anonymity, dismissed the initiative saying it did not work before and would not work again.
“The last initiative they had was clearly not thought out and it was a complete waste of money and time. With the new one, I don’t think they have been apprised on what the plan is. We are in the same position as everybody else. What we hear in the news that is all we know.”