JIS News

Story Highlights

  • USF has accumulated over $11 billion in revenue, since the introduction of the cess on international calls terminating in Jamaica, in 2005.
  • The money has been used to provide information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in schools and communities islandwide.
  • The Fund had allocated $5 billion for implementation of the e-learning project in high schools and teacher colleges.

The Universal Service Fund (USF) has accumulated over $11 billion in revenue, since the introduction of the cess on international calls terminating in Jamaica, in 2005, Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, has disclosed.

Mr. Paulwell said the money has been used to provide information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in schools and communities islandwide.

Speaking at the launch of activities to commemorate Excelsior Community College’s 40th anniversary this year, at the institution’s Mountain View Avenue campus in Kingston, on February 11, Mr. Paulwell said the Fund had allocated $5 billion for implementation of the e-learning project in high schools and teacher colleges, by e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited.

“To date, they have completed the first part of their mandate, which was to enable all of our 210 high schools…and teacher colleges to have computer labs with broadband access,” he informed.

The Minister added that $1.4 billion has been allocated to undertake the Tablets in Schools pilot project, which will see 25,000 portable tablet computers being issued to students and teachers in 38 schools, inclusive of primary and special education institutions islandwide.

Mr. Paulwell said these approaches reflect the government’s cognizance of technology’s role in advancing education.

The Minister pointed out that the USF has also financed the establishment of 165 community access points (CAPs) islandwide, which have provided residents with ICT facilities.

This number could increase soon, as Mr. Paulwell has hinted that a similar undertaking is being considered for the community of Mountain View in Kingston.

Mr. Paulwell cited establishment of the CAPs as a way to transform communities and pique the interest of, and inspire the youngsters in school, particularly males, towards learning.

Excelsior Community College will mark its 40th  anniversary in 2014 with a year-long slate of activities under the theme: ‘The Eagle’s Flight’.