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Government to Pay CSEC Fees for All Students This Year

Students displaying the e-tablets that were handed over by Prime Minister Philip J Pierre.
Students displaying the e-tablets that were handed over by Prime Minister Philip J Pierre.

Prime Minister Philip J Pierre, Monday, handed 3000 e-tablets to students across the country and promised to pay Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination fees for the year.

The handover is part of a targeted intervention to facilitate the participation of primary school children in distributed learning. The move will alleviate the burden on parents who are financially challenged.

Pierre spoke of the significance of the e-tablets and government’s commitment to education at the ceremony, and reminded the audience of government’s philosophy which according to him, makes it clear that no child should be left behind.

“I want to remind you that long before COVID the party that I lead had promised that every child in Saint Lucia would have one laptop. It was the foresight and the philosophy of the party; the philosophy that says that there must be equal opportunity for every child in spite of where they are born, where they live or where their parents come from, or the colour of their skin,” Pierre said.

“Technology (is) important and the position of one laptop per student became a mantra of the Saint Lucia Labour Party and now it’s a mantra of the Government of Saint Lucia in spite of COVID. I want to say that it’s significant; we want to give every child a device because with a device that child has the same opportunity as a child anywhere in the world,” the prime minister added.

He also told attendees that government will absorb the cost for students who will be writing the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination, vowing to operate with their best interest in mind.

“It’s the same philosophy that says we must pay facility fees for every child. It’s the philosophy that says we must pay CXC fees, and I want to assure (you) that before the end of this term we’ll be paying every CXC fee for every child in this country. We will ensure or we will try within a reasonable time for every child to have an opportunity for secondary school education and hopefully we can get one university graduate in every household,” Pierre said.

“This ceremony is small but significant (and) the presence of the members of the cabinet should send a message to the people of Saint Lucia that we take education seriously. We do not believe that things like computers and what children need for their education should (be) gifts,” he added, noting that it is government’s responsibility to make these things available.

Further, he said, despite fiscal constraints, government will ensure that every child gets “the requirements.”

Minister with Responsibility for Housing and Local Government, Richard Frederick, also stressed on the importance of the initiative.

According to Frederick, “It was discontinued under the last administration and in the whole emphasis of putting people first the laptop programme was reintroduced and here we are today a commencement of a promise that was made during the campaign.”

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