As part of the initiative to support schools in the delivery of quality education, Guardian Life Limited and the Guardian Group Foundation have donated $5 million towards the purchase of laptops and tablets for students in need.
Some of these tablets and laptops were handed over to the Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, and some of the recipients on Wednesday (February 10), at the offices of the insurance company, located on Trafalgar Road in Kingston.
The money was used to purchase a total of 137 tablets and 30 laptops for handover to schools islandwide.
The schools that have received devices, to date, include Lottery Primary and Infant, Flanker Primary and Junior High, Denham Town Primary, Duhaney Park Primary, St. Jude’s Primary, Clan Carty Primary, St. Francis Primary and Infant, and Excelsior Primary and Infant.
Minister Williams thanked Guardian Life Limited and the Guardian Group Foundation for the donation and noted that the devices will assist with bridging the digital divide in Jamaica.
“Ever since last year when students had to go home because of the start of the pandemic, I know that we in the education sector had to figure out how we would remain connected with our students, and how the students connect to us, to continue to get their formal education,” she said.
“It has not been easy. We have put a number of approaches out there for the schools, the principals, the teachers and the parents, which include the online approach, the preferred approach for all the students that I’ve met. They all want to have a device of their own, because they understand the power of that device in terms of their learning,” the Minister added.
Meanwhile, Vice President, Business User Support Services and Special Projects, Guardian Life, Kelsa-Marie Pinnock Daubon, said the company “is committed to supporting our country in any effort that seeks to promote literacy and education, so we can be proud of this country”.
Principal, St. Jude’s Primary School, Susanna Ainsworth, was overjoyed that some needy students from her institution would be getting devices to access their online classes.
“I want to say thank you to the Guardian Group for this initiative. Indeed, our needy children will benefit. Our needy children are in need of support. I would like to see more companies from corporate Jamaica coming on board, because there are many more children in need of tablets,” she told JIS News.
Acting Principal, St. Francis Primary and Infant School, Maxine Douglas, was also thrilled.
“I’m very honoured today to know that St. Francis was chosen to be a part of the Guardian Life initiative for the Tablets in School. I just want to say thanks to the Minister and thanks to Guardian Life,” she told JIS News.
Principal, Excelsior Primary and Infant School, Oliver Holness, said the donation comes at a time when students from his school have been struggling with accessing online classes.
Teacher, Clan Carty Primary School, Dellano Stewart, said the school is overwhelmed that Guardian Life came on board.
“There are a lot of students who have challenges in finding these devices to work. [There is often] one phone in the home, and sometimes no connectivity, so it’s a welcome idea, and I think with this initiative, our students will be more engaged, and we will cut down on the number of those who are not engaged,” he told JIS News.