Solomon Islands: A new pathway for learning in schools and colleges with computer technology
Last week, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale, called on the government to supply reasonably priced laptops for students in the emergency zone.
Quoting his words in the Solomon Star newspaper, he said:
“I also call on the government to provide free internet access (including ISPs to lower profit margins on bandwidth), and to charge the costs for this to the responsible ministry.
“Furthermore, I also call on the government to procure reasonably priced laptops for our students in the emergency zone.
“The internet provides a viable option to ongoing learning in such times and fits in well with current emergency restrictions. The present situation provides us with the opportunity to make use of this technology and set a new pathway of learning for our schools and students.”
I can support the introduction of laptops to school students because computers can promote quality education, but educational technology programs have costs that must be considered.
Obviously, there are a number of costs associated with having students issued with laptops, and cover the fixed costs of the equipment, bandwidths, wireless points and electrical installation
Then one would also need to consider:
Service costs: Teacher training, teacher support
Recurrent costs: Maintenance, tech support, refreshing equipment, and
Incidental costs: Consent forms, paper, toner, storage spaces, and security.
The biggest cost issue, I guess, would be the cost of the laptops themselves unless they could be provided free of charge.
In 2014, I recall the Government of Georgia having generously donated laptops to Tapuaki Community High School on Sikaina Island and also to several rural schools in Malaita, Choiseul and in both the Western and Makira Provinces.
I don’t know whether the Government of Georgia is still donating laptops, or would be willing to do so again.