Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, says the Government’s ‘Tablets in Schools Programme’, totalling more than 40,000, is geared at digitally empowering students.
Speaking at the handover of tablet computers to students at the Eccleston Primary School in Macca Tree, St. Catherine, on November 11, Mrs. Williams said the drive to ensure that all children in the school system benefit from technology was under way before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the crisis has “forced us to accelerate” the initiative.
“Government recognises that in order for Jamaica to become a digital society where its citizens are literate and can manage themselves in the online world, and participate economically, students in our schools have to be enabled with the technology,” she emphasised.
The 40,000 tablets are being distributed across the island by e-Learning Jamaica (e-LJam), to students in grades four to six to support virtual learning, and for learners on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
The objective is to provide needy students with the necessary tools to function in the online teaching and learning environment.
Mrs. Williams noted that training in the online learning management system has been provided for more than 20,000 schoolteachers.
“They must be commended, as they took hold of the technology so that they could create these virtual classrooms for the students,” the Minister said.
For his part, Member of Parliament for West Central St. Catherine, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the tablets will add a “lot of value to your learning experience”.
“It is going to make life a lot easier for your parents, who would not have been able to afford it,” he told the students.
He called on the parents not to allow COVID-19 and the restrictions on classroom schooling to impede their motivation to invest in the education of their children.
“It is still the best investment that you will ever make,” Dr. Tufton, who is also Minister of Health and Wellness, told the gathering.
Meanwhile, Principal of the school, Kamion Simpson, told JIS News that the students welcomed the devices, adding that for him it is a “bold step” to enhance learning, which the entire school community appreciates.
He also called on parents to be “visible” in their supervision of their children while they are using the Internet.