A total of 36,000 needy students, who are not on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), will benefit from a $20,000 subsidy towards the purchase of a tablet or laptop.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, made the disclosure during Tuesday’s (September 29) sitting of the House of Representatives at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown.
She said that there will be a registration process and criteria for the selection of the students. The start date for registration will be announced.
Minister Williams urged parents to be guided by the minimum specifications for the tablets and laptops, so that they do not end up with inferior devices.
“For tablets, the minimum specification is one gigabyte of memory, 32 gigabytes of storage and at least an eight-inch screen. For laptops, the minimum specification is four gigabytes of memory and 500 gigabytes of storage. The laptops should also come with Intel I3 or dual core processors,” she informed.
The Minister said e-Learning has negotiated wholesale prices with selected vendors for the Jamaican equivalent of US$150 for tablets and US$460 for laptops inclusive of general consumption tax (GCT). There is also a 12-month warranty for the devices.
Additionally, Ms. Williams said the Ministry is in talks with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) to launch a One-Laptop-or-Tablet-Per-Child initiative.
“We are calling on corporate Jamaica, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faith-based institutions, international development partners, private individuals and the diaspora to help us equip our students to be able to access online education,” she said.
Ms. Williams told the House that the Ministry is fully committed to providing the necessary resources to enable the education system to transition to one that can effectively navigate the new normal.
“This requires us to pivot the odds in our favour and to capitalise on the seeds of opportunity through consultations and strategic collaborations. The current public health crisis has presented the education system with an opportunity to retool for the technological age and to help our children cope with contemporary challenges,” she said.