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Sep 16, 2020

Government to Purchase 15 Thousand Tablets for Distance Learning

Parliamentarians today also debated a supplementary appropriation bill which includes the provision to spend seven point six million dollars for hardware and software purchases. The purchases will be done by the Ministry of Education and will come in the form of fifteen thousand five hundred tablets and accompanying software to be used for distance learning. According to Education Minister Patrick Faber, the tablets will be distributed to high school students who begin classes on October fifth. Opposition members questioned where the money will be sourced and criticized the government for buying tablets instead of laptops for the students.


Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Area Rep., Caribbean Shores

“In this day and age we cannot get away with giving multimillion dollar contracts to special individuals who cannot justify the cost of things because we know what happens to the balance of the money. We know about the kick back system that you all have been operating under for all these thirteen years. So Madam Speaker a name brand tablet like an Amazon Kindle Fire is only sixty-nine US dollars for one you know. So if you are buying seven million dollars worth it is my hope Minister of Education that when we learn the cost it is not just sixty-nine U.S., but rather less because you are buying in bulk. So don’t try to hide the figures that you are spending. Don’t try to get away with special contracts at the vey tail end of your administrations.”


Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Area Rep., Freetown

“And every study you read about E-leaning tells you that talents are not the way to go. Many of the things that students need to do in terms of E-learning cannot be done properly and effectively on tablets. Students need proper laptops to carryout effective E-learning and the teachers as well. This thing has to be done properly. It has to be done effectively and so we need to know a lot of more. Like I said, how many students actually need? What type of devices are the most appropriate. Certainly as I said, not tablets, laptops and who as my colleagues have mentioned, who is purchasing these items and at what cost?”


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“I said to the nation that we were going to get eight thousand tablets. That was the number that I threw out at the time. That is because we hadn’t done any homework yet. We hadn’t gone around to look where to find what. I am pleased to announce to this honourable house Madam Speaker that the monies that are being allotted will yield fifteen thousand five hundred tablets to this nation. I don’t want to even call it a tablet because the truth is what they are trying to minimize as tablet has developed so far Madam Speaker that in fact if you go big corporations in the United States people walk around with a tablet with a keyboard attached. That is what a computer is, smarties.  It is a ten inch tablet. I think it is Logic ten point one, I think is the brand. The retail price on the internet goes between four hundred and forty six dollars and five hundred and fourteen Belize dollars. But that is not what we are going to pay for it of course. When you buy in bulk you get a better price.”

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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