Last year, I chanced upon an announcement by a minister that all secondary school students would be getting a laptop by this year. I shared the news with my niece who was in Sec 3 then.
Imagine my embarrassment when I heard her dejectedly telling me on Monday that she would not be getting an iPad that students from other levels had just received from their school.
That got me looking for the announcement that had brought about the initial excitement over the free laptop.
I finally found it. In a televised broadcast last June 17, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam had said then-Education Minister Ong Ye Kung was accelerating plans to equip all secondary school students with a personal laptop or tablet for learning. They would each have their own device by this year, seven years ahead of the original target.
I understand that perhaps since my niece is in Sec 4 this year and will be leaving her school at the end of the year, it would not be logical for her cohort to get the learning device.
However, secondary school education is only a stepping stone to junior college or polytechnic and she and her cohort would still be using the device productively, that is, if they had received the learning device.
Also, if it is not the intention of the Government to equip all secondary school students with the laptop, then to avoid misunderstanding, the minister should not have used the phrase “all secondary students” in his broadcast.