Opposition calls on gov't to remove GCT from tablets, computers

Opposition calls on gov't to remove GCT from tablets, computers

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Opposition spokesman on Science and Technology, Julian Robinson, is renewing a call he first made in June during his Sectoral Debate presentation for the government to remove GCT on tablets and computers in order to make them more affordable for students.

In a statement today, Robinson said that with the confirmation yesterday by Minister of Education Fayval Williams that students would have to access education online due to the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more imperative that the government takes deliberate steps to ease the burden by making the devices cheaper.

He noted that based on the government's projections as outlined by Minister Williams at yesterday's press conference at Jamaica House, approximately 250,000 students require tablets or computer devices to access the new learning environment.

The shadow minister said the planned purchase and delivery of tablets and computers to students would not be sufficient to deal with the number of students who are in need. He added that the concern for many stakeholders is the creation of a situation where some students are given devices and access while others are left out of the equation.

Robinson indicated that his proposal for a fixed period of six months, given the extraordinary circumstances brought about by COVID-19, would be sufficient to deliver the devices and bring everyone at the same level.

"There is a real risk that students will lose up to one year of learning because they cannot access online classes, which may permanently retard their educational development," he argued.

In June 2020, the shadow minister called for a detailed assessment by the Ministry of Education to determine the extent of the regression and put in place appropriate measures to correct this. However, he said to date, nothing has been done to address the problem.

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