Pierre: Some students won’t receive online instructions due to UWP gov’t neglect

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Pierre: Some students won’t receive online instructions due to UWP gov’t neglect
Robert Lewis was the minister of education under the SLP government's computer-per-child initiative
Robert Lewis (left) was the minister of education under the Saint Lucia Labour Party government’s one-computer-per-child initiative

(St. Lucia News Online) — Schools begin today, Monday, April 20 for all primary and secondary school students through virtual means only.

But there is a major hiccup: not all students and teachers will have devices, particularly laptops and tablets, to receive and submit instructions.

Political Leader of the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) Philip J. Pierre said, had the ruling United Workers Party (UWP) government continued with the SLP government’s one-computer-per-child initiative, this issue would have been avoided.

Below is a statement from Piere, who is also the opposition leader, about the issue. The statement was posted on the SLP’s official Facebook page on Sunday, April 19, 2020.

The government has announced that there is a partial opening of schools tomorrow but not a physical opening. I take that to mean that there will be teaching but through virtual means. In short, children and teachers will need devices tablets or laptops to receive their instructions. Announcements have been made for teachers to prepare to teach and students to be available for online messages.

While this may sound noble, forward-thinking and progressive, and makes for great UWP propaganda and public relations, I ask the question how many children will really be able to access these lessons because of either the lack of computers or access to the internet.

I think it is necessary to recap where our country was regarding computers for students when the Saint Lucia Labour Party was voted out in June 2016.

The first set of computers approximately 4000 was received in August 2013 and distributed to students in Form 4.

The second batch of computers, 7000 received from Venezuela, was distributed to Forms 3 and 4 in November 2014.

The third set comprising of 4000 laptops, 1500 desktops, 600 projectors distributed in Form 3. The desktops and projectors were made available to individual schools.

As part of the distribution, teachers were given access to computers or laptops.

The SLP government from 2013 began the process of teacher training from the OAS and other online platforms.

In dealing with the question of access, we negotiated with the government of Taiwan for island-wide accessibility through the Ginet program.

It is clear that the SLP government had devised a well-structured plan which would in the short run, allow students to complete their SBA and CXC examinations virtually or online.

As was the practice at this time, the UWP, their surrogates found all imagined and real criticisms to level at the program including the now-infamous “you cannot eat computers.” In fact, both the now minister of education and the prime minister were scathing in their attacks on the one-computer-per-child initiative of the Saint Lucia Labour Party.

My parents always taught me that patience is a virtue and God works “in mysterious ways, his wonders never cease.” We have come full circle and look at where we are hundreds of children may be denied access to learning at this time.
I can hear the screams of justification and excuses “it’s because of COVID-19, and stop criticizing, let’s work together… it’s a national effort.” True and logical as this may sound for the purposes of UWP public relations and social media sound bites.


The real truth is that some of our children particularly those from low-income and unemployed households will not be able to receive online instructions due to UWP neglect and the desire to fight and stop the work started by the SLP government.

I can assure you that there are many more examples of that vindictive UWP posture. I guess all misdeeds and policy failures will be blamed on COVID-19 as if that virus was there from June 6, 2016

Philip J. Pierre

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Wow guys really the man has a point the laptop initiative should have never stopped maybe he is picking the wrong time to speak about it. I can understand if people comment on that but to say what this government did was write in removing this initiative is dam hypocracy.these guys need to re evaluate themselves or else the country will be forced to go into a j pierre government the same way we were left no choice to go into the horror we facing now cause the mood on the ground is if elections were to call tomorrow history would be made in st lucia 17-0

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  2. Wow guys really the man has a point the laptop initiative should have never stopped maybe he is picking the wrong time to speak about it. I can understand if people comment on that but to say what this government did was write in removing this initiative is dam hypocracy.these guys need to re evaluate themselves or else the country will be forced to go into a j pierre government the same way we were left no choice to go into the horror we facing now cause the mood on the ground is if elections were to call tomorrow history would be made in st lucia 17-0

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  3. The teachers are lazy. They are asking parents to instruct the children and correct the work themselves.

    And their unions supporting them. Asking me to teach, correct and just tell her the areas of weakness. Really.

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  4. You six clowns need to stay away the circus is closed. Please come back when we are open after the Prime Minister is finish taking care of the people and the country in this critical time.To you all hacks out there stay safe and be well please mine you all business.

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  5. If Pierre and SLP was in Government, would we have had virtual education like we have today? Would we have covid-19 on the control as we have today considering their below 0 performance of the economy and lack of vision? Won't the e-textbook tablet be better than, the laptop with no plans? Of course if every student had a laptop today it would have been better. If Labour, who have no vision for the country, could have said that we are giving the laptop in preparation of Covid 19 in 2019 I would have all reason to agree with them. However, we all know that no country in the world was prepared for the pandemic. I prefer the e-textbook plan 100 times more than giving the laptop. Like I have asked before, why haven't the SLP government ever inform the country on the effects of the laptop during the period it was given, I have gotten information from teachers that there are student whose average went up due to the laptop but by far the majority average went down hence the schools' averages went down.

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  6. U are so right P J Pierre. Can't wait to vote for you to become our PM, so our kids can all get laptops.

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