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Minister of Education, Nyan Gadsby-Dolly

The Ministry of Education (MoE) has extended the deadline for the submission of Means Test applications from parents and guardians of students who are still in need of an electronic device to continue with their online schooling.

Announcing the new deadline of May 14 yesterday, officials said this measure had “been instituted to ensure that all students who are in need of support have the opportunity to access the assistance required.”

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly confirmed that up to yesterday, a total of 2,436 applications had been received, up to the close of applications on April 30.

Indicating all applications are being assessed and should be completed over the next three weeks, the minister said, “The arrival of devices is estimated in the next two weeks.”

Asked what would happen to students who do not qualify, she said, “Those not eligible for devices will not receive Government-issued devices at this time. Those with the most need will be issued devices first.”

People are reminded that completed forms, along with all necessary attachments, must be submitted to their child’s school, where they must be stamped and signed by principals before being sent on to the District Education Office for collection by the respective school supervisor.

The Means Test was initially conducted during April 12 to 30.

And with June 10 still named as the date for the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam, Gadsby-Dolly said, “Information was requested from primary schools in order to supply Standard Five pupils with tablet devices and sim cards for those who required them.”

She assured, “This exercise has been completed and should offer some relief to students at this time.”

Parents and guardians of pupils, who still did not have access to devices when school resumed on April 12, were invited to complete the form which was available at all Government and Government-assisted primary and secondary schools.

The ministry said it was done, “to determine the eligibility of students for allocation of laptop computers,” and for persons whose socio-economic circumstances had prevented them from being able to acquire one.

Persons who had not received a device either through private donation or the Adopt-A-School initiative were free to apply.

The ministry had previously indicated that, “priority will be given to students previously identified as not having devices by schools, and those who demonstrate financial difficulty on the basis of information submitted on the Device Provision Form.”

When schools reopened on April 12, the ministry said up to February, a total of 35,700 students were still without a personal device.

In October 2020, Gadsby-Dolly estimated there were approximately 65,000 pupils without a device at the start of the academic year 2020/2021.

The Means Test was reportedly being designed in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development.