Educators at the August Town Primary School in St. Andrew were today (July 15) presented with 18 computer tablets under the ‘Tablets for Teachers’ programme.
They are the latest group to receive devices under the initiative, which falls under an agreement between the Government and the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) signed in May 2018.
A total of 25,000 devices will be distributed to teachers islandwide for personal use as well as to assist them in conducting research and delivering content in a virtual environment, especially as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has transformed teaching and learning.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, in her remarks at the handover ceremony at the school, said that the Government is equipping the education system to meet the demands of the digital age.
“With digital skills becoming a necessity and jobs being changed by automation, we need a generation of people who will be equipped with these skills. Failing to prepare our students for the digital age is going to be extremely costly,” Mrs. Williams said.
The Minister pointed out that not only will they lack the skills to compete but also they will not be able to contribute to the growth and development agenda.
“So it’s urgent for us in terms of ensuring that we continue to roll out our digital agenda for Jamaica, and our schools must become hubs and ecosystems which provide students with a solid education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Mrs. Williams said.
“We must continue to bridge the digital divide [and] we must provide the technology to students, and in particular, students who live in some of our inner-city communities [and in] rural Jamaica,” she added.
Meanwhile, Principal of August Town Primary, Jennifer Solomon, said that the devices were being provided to the teachers “at the right time”.
“We have been … doing everything online due to COVID-19. These tablets will help us navigate the different learning environments and learning management systems. So both our personal and professional lives will be richer. We are extremely grateful for these tablets,” Ms. Solomon said.
Chief Executive Officer at e-Learning Jamaica (e-LJam), Keith Smith, said his agency is pleased to be implementing the ‘Tablets for Teachers’ programme.
He noted that 18,000 of the 25,000 tablets are on the island and “we expect to complete the handover to teachers by the end of August”.
An agency of the Technology Ministry, e-LJam is tasked with providing expertise in the management and implementation of innovative technology projects that support the improvement of national learning outcomes while bolstering ICT solutions.