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Story Highlights

  • Eight primary and infant schools in the Corporate Area are to benefit from the services of a mobile computer lab.
  • Dubbed ‘Tech De Bus II’, the unit was donated to the Ministry of Education by the Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) Canada.
  • The eight schools, which will have access to the lab in the first phase of the project, were selected based on their needs, and proximity to the Education Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices.

Eight primary and infant schools in the Corporate Area are to benefit from the services of a mobile computer lab.

Dubbed ‘Tech De Bus II’, the unit was donated to the Ministry of Education by the Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) Canada.

The eight schools, which will have access to the lab in the first phase of the project, were selected based on their needs, and proximity to the Education Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices.

They are Allman Town Primary, Arnold Road Methodist Basic, Allman Town Infant, Franklin Town Primary, Salvation Army Basic, St. Paul’s United Basic, Sylvia Foote Early Childhood, and Elletson Primary Special Education Unit.

The mobile unit, which accommodates nine users at one time, is outfitted with computers and servers and boasts literacy and numeracy software to facilitate learning for children at the early childhood level from kindergarten up to grade three. It also has the capacity for Internet access.

It is equipped with an efficient air-conditioning unit through a donation from the Stationery Centre Limited and Xklusiv Media Group Limited.

At the launch at the Ministry on Thursday (May 21), Portfolio Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said the lab provides an opportunity to engage more boys in the learning process.

 

Stating that boys are lagging behind girls in learning by 20 per cent, he said, “our boys have an aptitude towards digital-based learning and the ‘Tech De Bus II’ offers this particular opportunity.”

Principal of the Allman Town Primary School and Custodian of Tech De Bus II, Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith, expressed her enthusiasm for the project.

She informed that the bus will target students with remedial education needs, those in the special education sector, as well as provide enrichment for those who are ahead and need to be challenged.

“In will assist in exposing our children to technology, and improve their literacy rates, while maintaining their interest in school,” she noted.

Mrs. Crooks-Smith informed that Microsoft Jamaica has given a commitment to upgrade the existing operating systems and the possibility is being explored for tablets to be placed on the unit.

The students, who will use the unit, will be supervised by a Microsoft Academy certified technician specialising in the area of teaching with technology, who will also be the designated driver. General maintenance of the unit is to be undertaken by the Ministry of Education.

A site visit of the mobile computer lab to each of the beneficiary institutions is to be conducted in June this year followed by the commencement of operational activities in September.

Mrs. Crooks-Smith said that as the initial eight schools become better equipped, the services of the mobile unit will be reassigned to other institutions.