One laptop per child policy shelved, says Akbar

Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Rosy Akbar with Minister for Infrastructure and Meteorological Services, Lands and Mineral Resources Jone Usamate during a break between sessions at the Parliament complex in Suva yesterday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THE one tablet or laptop per child policy to all primary and secondary school students fell through because 495 schools were damaged during Tropical Cyclone Winston, says Education Minister Rosy Akbar.

She said the cost of the damage was $240 million and this led to the cancellation of the policy.

Ms Akbar highlighted this in Parliament yesterday after she was questioned by National Federation Party (NFP) member Lenora Qereqeretabua why Government failed to fulfil its 2015 budget policy of providing tablets or laptops to students.

Ms Qereqeretabua said this would be critical now, especially with disruption of classes because of COVID-19.

Ms Akbar said there was a shift in Government’s priorities after TC Winston and as a result, the ministry could not commence with other phases of the project.

“Winston with its massive infrastructural damage took its toll on our e-learning plans and we had to re-strategise and re-prioritise,” she said.

“With 495 schools badly damaged and $240 million as rehabilitation costs, we had to reallocate funds to a massive rehabilitation process.”

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