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Laptops coming soon for secondary school students

Laptops coming soon for secondary school students

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Secondary school students here will receive their promised laptops, as soon as all of the specifics have been worked out.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, speaking at a press conference last week, said that the 15,000 laptops have been sourced, at a price of US$6 million, by the Ministries of Education and Technology, with assistance from a publisher of computer magazines, residing in Mustique.

Gonsalves said that this cost is about $3 million less than the quote given by a Venezuelan company, which had initially been approached to provide the computers.

“…the ALBA bank was going to lend the money to finance it, but they were taking some time in getting the process done,” Gonsalves said of the South American company.

“So, I asked him (the Mustique publisher) ‘why is it that you don’t get your people to help me source a good quality laptop for the secondary school cheaply, and they came back after several weeks… and said that the best for the purpose is an Acer laptop and three years software, and a bag to carry it; just about US$400 per laptop.”

Gonsalves said that he wrote to the Venezuelan authorities, informing them of the turn of events, and was able to work out a grant of US$5 million, one million short of the total.

“So, the Venezuelans have said to me, provide them with the details and everything, so I’ve written back to this entity which is supplying the laptops, so that the Venezuelans would pay them directly the five million, and the other one million, we will find it somehow,” Gonsalves said.

In May, the Prime Minister announced that he would be looking at sources other than Portugal to provide laptops to allow for the government’s “One Laptop per Child” initiative to continue. Between 2010 and 2011, Portugal and Venezuela donated 30,000 laptops, which were distributed among the nation’s primary school students.

At the press conference in May when he made the announcement, Gonsalves said because of the changes in the government of Portugal, that country was pre-occupied with many things and did not deliver on the second batch of computers as promised.

Gonsalves said, as a result, he was seeking to make arrangements elsewhere to supply secondary school students with the computers, as had been promised.(JJ)

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