JIS News

The lives of students from six schools for the deaf have been made easier by the provision of computers and audio-visual equipment, through funding from the Government’s Universal Access Fund Company Limited.
The equipment, valued at $6 million, which will make communications much easier at the institutions, was presented on Wednesday (September 30) at the Danny Williams School for the Deaf in Kingston. They were made available under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Resource Rooms in Schools for the Deaf project funded by the Universal Access Fund.
Managing Director of the Fund, Hugh Cross, said that through the project, the six schools are now being given the opportunity to connect directly with each other using teleconferencing, a project which is already in some educational institutions across Jamaica.
“What this will do is to allow the schools to conference with each other, so that they can share ideas and do whatever other necessary educational opportunities it might provide,” he informed.
Mr. Cross further noted that it is part of the Fund’s mandate to provide easy and reliable access to information through the deployment of broadband services.
“When I visit these facilities, I find that the students are so amazing: They are always happy and so pleasant. It gives you the impression that they are always yearning to explore new worlds and expand their knowledge,” he said.
“We are here to provide them with that opportunity through our mandate, which is to have access to the information super highway, through the deployment of broadband services, and to stimulate continuous improvements in the quality of life for all,” he stated.
The provision of audiovisual equipment in the classroom for deaf children will enhance the visual presentation of content, facilitate performance assessment and tracking, and increase access to the independent learning resources as well as communicating via the internet.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enhances the learning environment, especially for deaf students, because they are visual learners.
Schools benefitting under the project are: the Jamaica Association for the Deaf Preschool Centre; Danny Williams School for the Deaf; Integrated Unit at Excelsior Primary in Kingston; May Pen Unit for the Deaf in Clarendon; St. Christopher’s School for the Deaf; and Port Antonio Unit for the Deaf in Portland.
Equipment received under the project include desktops, laptops, video cameras, document cameras, projectors, desk jet printers, projector screens and workstations. The computers and audiovisual equipment were sourced and supplied by Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Limited.
The Universal Access Fund Limited is a Government entity, which collects a levy on incoming international calls to Jamaica. The revenue from the charges goes towards financing the implementation of the national e-learning project, which is designed to enhance the education process through the use of information technology.
The Minister with responsibility for Information and Telecommunications, Hon. Daryl Vaz, recently reported that the Universal Access Fund now has a total of $5.5 billion. He said that about $2.8 billion has already been committed to the Government’s E-Learning project.

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