‘Heavily subsidised’ laptop purchases for CPCE teachers in Budget 2022

The PPP/C Government has returned a programme it had introduced before 2015, which provides subsidised purchases of laptops to teachers enrolled at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE).

This was disclosed by Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, during the scrutiny of budget estimates for her ministry on Tuesday evening.

Before the PPP/C left office in 2015, we had had a programme, a rotating fund where each student was given the opportunity to purchase at a heavily subsidised cost, a computer, and that programme was crashed and collapsed and neglected, and not followed by the APNU+AFC. It was replaced by nothing, even though that party had come into office promising one laptop per teacher.”

Minister of Education, Hon. Priya Manickchand, M.P

The minister said the government has $36 million in that account, and intends to restart the programme. The process for procurement, she indicated, has already begun, so that teachers on the CPCE training programme can benefit from access to subsidised laptops.

This will be especially useful for the teachers, given the increasing need for technology in education, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Manickchand said due to the fact that CPCE is the only training college for teachers in the country, it was important for government to resolve the closure of the institution due to the pandemic.

“When we came into office in August of 2020, CPCE was closed completely without any prospect or plan for reopening, and we took a policy decision that we would go fully although not solely online.” Due to space constraints, the minister noted that CPCE could hold up to 535 students, but when it went online, that number shot up to 3,000. This steep increase in students is what is responsible for a significant increase in the allocations for training and development in this year’s budget for the ministry. Also catered for in that budget are provisions for stipends, as well as products and services necessary for online teaching.