The demand for electronic devices such as laptops and tablets has led to a global shortage. Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said it had been reported that the crunch might last until 2022.
In a WhatsApp response to Newsday on Tuesday, Gadsby said the issue underlying the wait time for devices is supply.
So far, the ministry has received pledges of 21,810 devices from 60 corporate donors to its Adopt-a-School initiative, launched in September.
In a phone interview with Newsday on Tuesday, manager of Tech Access in Port of Spain Aqueel Orophal said the problem is not just local. He said global demand for devices for people attending classes from home has caused a worldwide shortage, which is expected to continue if virtual classes continue.
“I won’t say covid19 is the sole issue, but I see it improving as quickly as that improves,” he commented.
He said once the virus is no longer as rampant, devices may be in less demand and sold at lower prices.
“When devices are available, it is at higher prices, simply because of the worldwide shortage.”
He said the business's profit margins were not good during the Christmas season.
“We have to decrease the profit margin to cushion the blow for the consumers. We need to keep our clientele.”
He added that most parents do not mind purchasing cell phones as an alternative.