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The Universal Access Fund (UAF) has collected $5.5 billion to date and of this amount, approximately $2.8 billion has been committed to the e-Learning project.
This was disclosed by Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), with responsibility for Information and Telecommunications, Hon. Daryl Vaz on Wednesday (July 22), during his contribution to the 2009/10 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
He informed that the UAF has installed computer equipment in the 19 branch libraries across the country, including specialised software for the hearing-impaired.
There are also plans to build a state-of-the art mobile cyber-library at a cost of $12 million. “This will be designed to use high speed Internet connectivity, based primarily on wireless technology, and it will be fitted with modern multi-media equipment,” Mr. Vaz said.
“It will be money well spent in allowing the (Jamaica) Library Service to visit communities throughout the island, to provide library and Internet services that should stimulate our people to join the knowledge-based movement,” he added.
As for the e-Learning project, 164 high schools, five community colleges, six special schools and eight teachers’ colleges have been outfitted with audio-visual equipment and educational material on compact disc (CD) and digital video disc (DVD). Computers and networks have been fully installed in 143 high schools, three special schools and six teachers’ colleges.
The project has also trained some 7,000 teachers and lecturers, with more than 2,200 fully certified to use information and communication technologies.
Work is also being done in conjunction with the University of the West Indies, as well as with the University of Technology and Mico University College, to deliver programmes designed to equip their graduates to effectively use information and communication technology tools in teaching.
“A great deal of work is (also) being done in the development and delivery of subject content to support the project. The Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC) is producing 50 video lectures in the subjects that are being covered in the project, using animation technology to demonstrate and illustrate challenging concepts,” Mr. Vaz told the House.
In addition, instructional materials for teachers and students have been delivered to more than 150 schools covering the subjects of English Language, Mathematics, Information Technology, Chemistry and Biology. Six additional subjects will be added shortly.
For the subjects under the project, more than 9,000 test questions with model answers have been developed by specialist writers and deposited in a central repository, which is available online.
The UAF is a government entity, which collects a levy on incoming international calls to Jamaica. The revenue earned from the charges goes towards financing the implementation of the national e-learning project, which is designed to enhance the education process through the use of information technology

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