KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has set up a website where it publishes materials it hopes will help the nation’s students to make the most of the laptops given to them by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) government.
Senator Vynnette Frederick said during the Budget Debate on Thursday that vincyclassroom.com caters to children, parents and teachers and is intended “to make this technology come alive.
“And we hope that they will use their laptops to go there. Because, the New Democratic Party is providing Step Two that will take the government, on the basis of the evidence they provide here, three years to accomplish,” she said of the government’s one-laptop-per-child initiative.
She said the website was constructed in five days and described as “an epic failure on the part of the government” the absence of such a resource.
Frederick, a former teacher, said that parents are already emailing content to the website, which was setup in December.
She said that teacher could post course work online for their students and grade them there.
“It is a failing on the part of the government that that has not even come up as an option,” she said.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, in his wrap-up of the budget debate yesterday, described the NDP’s initiative as a “sort of windrow dressing of no merit, presented as a great idea”.
“… to present to us a website where you put some examination papers on it and you might put something there for somebody how to count, that is not a transformative way to use ICT. It is not even an integrated manner. You have to link the syllabuses; you have to know what you are doing; the teachers and the student, they to interact in a new manner, in a focused and disciplined way. Not this kind of a bling as though you going on top the stage in front of a carnival show and shout with somebody, ‘Two, three; wave yo’ hand and wine (dance)’,” Gonsalves said.
In his Budget Address on Monday, Gonsalves said that under the one-laptop-per-child initiative, every primary school student from Grade II — 7 years old — upwards, every secondary school student, and all the teachers would receive a laptop.
He further said that the initiative is “the most comprehensive and extensive in the Caribbean and one of the most advanced in the world”.
So far, 15,000 laptops have been distributed at a cost of EC$18 million.