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Feb 24, 2015

Free Tablets for UB Students

Today, the Ministry of Education invited the media to a breakfast where they discussed the road forward. But that was only a prelude to the real show – the distribution of tablets to University of Belize students. It’s a government initiative which was promised at the start of the year, and it was not lost on us that the delivery was perfectly timed to coincide with municipal elections in a couple weeks. But election gimmick or not, it’s a free tablet, and students turned up in numbers to collect. Mike Rudon was in Belmopan and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

We don’t feel bad referring to the delivery of tablets to UB students as blatant politicking right before municipal elections. It is, and there’s been no attempt to hide it. The U.D.P.’s mayoral candidate was even invited to speak, though he didn’t appear. But call it what you will – the fact is that students now have a brand new tablet and it’s a good thing. That good thing has ushered in what the Prime Minister has referred to as the Year of Technology.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“One of the elements of that initiative…one of the elements of having this as the Year of Technology is that he also promised to deliver a tablet to every tertiary level student in the country of Belize. Isn’t that great news? Now when the Prime Minister promises as he did in his New Year’s address, people expect him to deliver, don’t you? And I don’t know about you, but my experience has been with my boss Dean Barrow, when he promises, he delivers unless something else goes wrong. He promised you a tablet, and there are some who say that it’s election time so this is electioneering and gimmicks, but imagine if the Prime Minister had promised you the tablet and election came and you didn’t get it…then you would have said that the Prime Minister liad.”

 

Faber went on to say that they decided to make good on the promise because if they hadn’t, some people wouldn’t have voted for the U.D.P. But enough about blatant politicking…Tablets will be given to all tertiary level students, including those attending junior colleges, Galen University and the University of the West Indies Open campus.

 

Joseph Waight

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary

“I would ask the students to make good use of it. It’s an opportunity that we older people would only dream of since computers were not in existence when we were going to school. Now this gives you access to the internet and all the useful knowledge that the internet can provide. So take care of the tablets. Use them for good use. I know there’ll be social media calling at times, but primarily for school, for e-textbooks and use of the internet, so take good care of them.”

 

The Minister of Education even found time in his address to do some freelance marketing for B.T.L.

 

Patrick Faber

“We cannot neglect to put in a plug for B.T.L.…those of you who have Smart switch over to B.T.L.  B.T.L. supports the government and is owned by the government. When you support B.T.L. you get back benefits. B.T.L. has very great packages to help you connect and to make sure you are connected with the worldwide web.”

 

G.O.B. purchased nine thousand computers at a cost of two hundred dollars each. They will be distributed over the next two weeks, before March fourth. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

The connection to the supplier was made by Ambassador of the Republic of China Taiwan Benjamin Ho.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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