A promise made by the Labour Party during the 2014 General Election has been fulfilled.
Students of the Pierre Charles Secondary School were the first to receive the promised one tablet per child aimed at giving all students equal access to the internet and technology for their educational advancement.
The program was launched Wednesday September 30 at the Pierre Charles Secondary School.
President of the Dominica, His Excellency Charles Savarin and Mrs. Savarin, the Hon. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, representative of the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Dominica, as well as several members of Cabinet were part of the historic event.
“Today we are here to enhance your ability to learn; give you greater opportunities for learning through the One Tablet per Child Initiative,” the Hon. Prime Minister said to students. “We want to ensure that all of you have access to technology because I know that many of you here need to have a tablet or laptop but your parents cannot afford it.”
Minister for Information, Kelver Darroux revealed that the students will receive Asus Memopad eight tablets, one of the most popular and most efficient brands of tablets.
As Minster for Information, Science Telecommunications and Technology, Hon. Darroux says the tablets are testimony of Government’s commitment to provide tools to create a smart classroom environment.
“Technology has opened windows of opportunity to see and explore the wonderful world as a result, the Government of Dominica has identified the use of information and communication technology as a key priority to radically transform and enhance our education sector,” he said reading from his own tablet.
“Additionally, this One Tablet per Child Initiative breaks the barriers of socio-economic status where some can afford and others are left at a disadvantage.”
Minister Darroux said to students, “Technology can be seen as a double-edged sword based on how it is used. Young people, I want to urge each of you to engage in positive and uplifting activities with the technology which is at your fingertips.”
He warned them against cyber-bullying, violent sites and other inappropriate activities.
The Hon. Member of Parliament for Grand Bay, Justina Charles says that this initiative further proves that Government is addressing all factors that may negatively impact students’ academic pursuits.
She stated, “The One Tablet per Child Initiative allows every student equal opportunity to use Information Technology as a tool to enhance learning since we believe that quality education empowers people to take advantage of opportunities around them.”
Hon Charles further stated that the programme is aimed at helping students realize their full academic potential.
She charged parents with the responsibility to show appreciation by ensuring that the devices are well taken care of.
The parents and students expressed their gratitude for this initiative.
Nadine Baron, a PCSS student shared, “I’m excited and very satisfied that [Government] fulfilled its promise to us.”
“A lot of things are available on the internet so that will be a good guide for me for my SBAs…so I can get past papers online,” added Jonis George.
Parent, Frank Anselm said, “Everybody kept saying no tablet and go by Jolly’s Pharmacy to get tablets but today it is evident that the tablets are right here.”
Rosalyn Stewart said, “Today I feel very happy because [my daughter] is receiving a tablet to do her work. She used to go to the library to do her work but now she will be able to do it at home…
“I recall a friend of mine…saying we were fooled and showing me coconut tablet but as I say today, Mi i la. Labor Ka Twavay, mi tablet la…”
She thanked God for the Prime Minister and his Government.
According to Hon. Education Minister, Petter Saint Jean, “Nothing could stop us from delivering your tablets to you. Not [Tropical Storm] Danny, not Erika, not even Grace.”
The Isaiah Thomas Secondary School will receive their tablets on Monday October 5th, followed by the Portsmouth Secondary School, the Castle Bruce Secondary and the North East Comprehensive followed by the other schools.
The tablets are fully financed by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.