Four fully equipped after school centres are slated to be established this year under the GTECH After School Advantage Programme.
GTECH’s Country Manager for Jamaica, Ann-Dawn Young Sang, made the announcement on May 17, at the opening of a centre at the Holy Trinity High School in Kingston.
She said that in addition to the setting up and outfitting of the four centres, the United States-based technology firm is looking to donate some 50 additional computers.
The after school centre at Holy Trinity comprises a computer laboratory outfitted with approximately US$15,000 worth of hardware and software, with Internet access provided. The facility is the second to be established since the programme’s launch last December at the Dunrobin Primary School in St. Andrew.
Mrs. Young Sang said the programme is “very dear” to GTECH, “because we believe that schools must be much more than holding areas for children whose parents are otherwise occupied”.
“They are, and must continue to be, institutions of learning, windows to an exciting world of possibilities, where students are motivated, engaged and equipped to navigate this ever evolving world. In providing this centre, we are convinced that the students at Holy Trinity can be given a real advantage…another leg up on the rung of the ladder of learning,” she said.
Education Minister, Rev. Hon. Ronald Thwaites, welcomed the collaboration, describing GTECH’s gesture as a good example of social entrepreneurship, and of how corporate entities must partner with the state in order to improve educational outcomes.
“They (GTECH) are dedicated to the expansion of the use of computer hardware and the provision of appropriate software and they are applying this for the benefit of the students of Holy Trinity,” he stated.
The Education Minister said the gesture also complemented initiatives under the Universal Access Fund (UAF) and the National E-Learning Programme, which have greatly assisted in enabling high schools to have computer resource centres.
Holy Trinity’s Principal, Sadpha Bennett, said the opening of the centre is “a very special occasion for us”, adding that the facility “has given us another opportunity to see how well we can motivate (the students)”.
“I… assure you that we are on our way to transforming the learning culture of our students, so as to get them to excel in an environment where information technology is crucial to their lives,” he added.
GTECH is a leading information technology company that provides gaming technology and services for some of the world's leading lottery and gaming products, including those of Supreme Ventures Limited.
Through its After School Advantage Programme, the company provides non-profit agencies with state-of-the art, Internet ready computer centres.
The company has been extending technology support and inputs to primary, secondary and tertiary institutions since 2006 under its Education Assistance programme, which was re-branded the After School Advantage Programme in December 2011.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter