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  • Jamaicans will soon have free access to essential online government services, says Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley.
  • He said the move will be undertaken on a phased basis, as “with the over 200 sites and services that the Government of Jamaica has, it won’t be possible to provide access to these sites and services all at once”.
  • He said that the Ministry will be working closely with the Education Ministry, to ensure effective use of technology through e-Learning Jamaica.

Jamaicans will soon have free access to essential online government services, says Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley.

He said the development comes out of discussions with the major service providers. “They have assured me that within the next couple of weeks they will zero rate access to key Government of Jamaica sites, services and Ministry of Education content,” he informed.

“What this means is that even if your credit or data plan is exhausted or if your data package at home is in arrears, Jamaicans will be able to pay taxes, apply for birth certificates, and access educational materials online for free,” he noted.

The Technology Minister was making his contribution to the 2016/17 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 21.

He said the move will be undertaken on a phased basis, as “with the over 200 sites and services that the Government of Jamaica has, it won’t be possible to provide access to these sites and services all at once”.

Dr. Wheatley pointed out that removing barriers of access to essential government and educational services will spur the development of citizen to government (C2G) mobile apps; boost interaction between government and citizens; broaden the tax net and improve collections, since access will now be easier and more convenient.

“Additionally, students will be able to access various content and learning materials provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information at home. This will boost the benefits that can be derived from greater use of technology in education,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wheatley told the House that a comprehensive review of the Tablets in Schools Project, administered by e-Learning Jamaica, has been completed and “we intend to move forward with a restricted version of this project, based on lessons learned”.

He said that the Ministry will be working closely with the Education Ministry, to ensure effective use of technology through e-Learning Jamaica.

He said there will also be partnership with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation to broaden support for the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector in order to boost job creation.

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