The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and e-Learning Jamaica have presented tablets to the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) students at three inner-city schools located in the constituency of St. Andrew South.
These will augment the 18,000 tablets and 12,000 desktop computers already distributed to schools.
The schools are Jones Town Primary, Iris Gelly Primary and Trench Town Primary.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams; and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), e-Learning Jamaica, Keith Smith, handed over some of the tablets to students and principals associated with the schools, on Tuesday (October 20).
The Minister pointed out that students in grades four, five and six will first benefit from this distribution, because they will soon sit the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations.
“We are targeting PATH students because they are the neediest of the needy in our society. Later on, there are other procurements on the way to put laptops into the hands of PATH students as well as in our high schools in grades 10 to 13,” Mrs. Williams said.
She noted that those benefiting should give thanks to the taxpayers of Jamaica for the provision of the devices.
“I come on behalf of the taxpayers of Jamaica, whose resources made this all possible,” she said.
Mrs. Williams reiterated that it is a policy of the Government to ensure that Jamaica’s classrooms, teachers and students have technology to help to provide additional teaching and learning experience for them, whether they are in the classroom or at home, or wherever they are.
In addition to these handovers, e-Learning Jamaica has completed the distribution of tablets to teachers under the Jamaica Teachers’ Association Heads of Agreement. Those teachers who have not yet received, based on the time they were employed, will be dealt with during the Christmas term.
The protocol for distribution of the tablets/computers, along with supporting forms, has been circulated to schools. In addition, the Ministry’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for use by schools to guide parents who will be procuring technological devices for their children has also been circulated, along with the specifications for tablets and laptops.
Principal, Jones Town Primary School, Sybrena Francis Knight, was elated that the PATH students living in the inner-city community she serves will have devices to work from home.
“We express our sincere thanks for all the assistance given. With the rapid transformation in meeting our learners for the Fourth Industrial Revolution… we [can now] meet the students with the needs regarding education and technology,” she said.
Principal, Iris Gelly Primary School, Claude Rowe, whose school is located metres away from Jones Town Primary, also expressed gratitude for the devices.
“It is indeed an opportune time for us to be doing something like this, as the demand for such gadgets has exploded with the onset of COVID-19. On behalf of the Iris Gelly Primary School, we express sincere thanks. We will make sure that they are kept in the best of condition, and we will train our students, not only to use them but also how to care them,” Mr. Rowe said.
Trench Town Primary School’s Principal, Merlene Sewell Sullivan, said her students will be happy after they get their new tablets.
“We may not be able to reach all our children, but with us as educators and our innovativeness, we will use the tablets to reach our students,” she said.