One tablet per child project in limboPOSTED: 09/16/15 10:26 PM
St. Maarten – On August 26 last year, the Council of Ministers approved the “One tablet per child” project aimed at providing elementary school pupils with a tablet, starting with those in public education which falls directly under the ministry. To this day, schools are still waiting for the project to materialize. Questions were sent to the Minister of Education Rita Bourne-Gumbs about the project by this newspaper but no answers were provided up to press time on Monday.
Some 4.2 million guilders had been secured from the division of assets from the Antillean Bureau of Telecommunications and Post for the project. The St. Maarten Development Fund would have managed and supervised the disbursement of the funds.
One year later, schools are still waiting on the program to kick off in their schools. Former Education Minister Patricia Lourens-Philip said on August 26, last year that she had presented the Council of Ministers with several policy documents to ensure that the project was embedded in an Information Communication Technology (ICT) Policy in Education in general and in particular in an ICT policy for the schools.
The initial idea of the one-tablet-per-child project, was to provide career opportunities for talented St. Maarteners and others to participate in the ICT knowledge generation. Where the schools are concerned the administration and management of these institutions would have also benefited from this project through effective use of ICT tools in their day-to-day operation, thereby transforming the educational landscape of St. Maarten, according to the former minister. According to a source close to the ministry, the minister has decided to go in a different direction with the project and plans to work with the development fund to focus the funds on other projects.