Balcombe Drive Primary School in Kingston, on Thursday (July 9), formally received computers under the Government’s ‘Tablets for Teachers Programme’, so its teachers can use them while working from home.
Distribution of the tablets results from the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) Heads of Agreement of May 2018, which aimed to provide teachers islandwide with tablet computers.
e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited (e-LJam) – an agency of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology – also forms part of the initiative to distribute the tablets.
The organisation is tasked with providing expertise in the management and implementation of innovative technology projects that support the improvement of national learning outcomes, while bolstering information and communications technology (ICT) solutions.
Principal of Balcombe Drive Primary School, Ms. Yvette Foster, accepted the tablets on behalf of the teachers from Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness; Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams; and Chairman of e-LJam, Christopher Reckord, at the school.
Mr. Holness encouraged the teachers to use the equipment to enhance the learning experience for their students.
“The use of technology to enhance teaching and learning, through digital inclusion and digital literacy, has been the key objective of the Government,” Mr. Holness said.
“The temporary closure of schools, as a result of the [coronavirus] COVID-19 pandemic, has reinforced the need for us to accelerate progress in achieving this objective,” he added.
Mr. Holness noted that under the Tablets for Teachers Programme, the Government has procured 65,000 tablets for distribution.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Williams said that Balcombe Drive Primary, like many others across the island, has been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which stalled the education of so many students islandwide.
“COVID-19 has taught us that we need to go digital in this digital age. All our teachers and students must be able to access lessons and material remotely, so that no one is disenfranchised,” she emphasized.
For her part, Ms. Foster thanked the Government for the tablets.
“We are extremely happy…we are just overjoyed. We are going to use them to enhance our learning,” she said.
Some 114 schools received 2,000 tablets in the month of June from e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited.