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887 students from nine West Kingston schools get tablets

Saturday, November 21, 2020

KINGSTON, Jamaica— A total of 887 students from nine primary schools in the West Kingston area have been provided with tablet computers as the Government continues the distribution of devices under the Tablets in Schools programme. 

During a ceremony at the Denham Town Primary School yesterday, 118 tablets were handed over for students at the institution; 150 for students of St Andrew Primary; 148 for St Aloysius Primary; 120 for St George's Girls Primary; 100 for North Street Congregational; 100 for St Anne's Primary; 80 for Central Branch All-Age; 50 for St Alban's Primary and Infant, and 21 for Chetolah Mel Nathan Educational Centre.

The Government, through e-Learning Jamaica (e-LJam) began the distribution of 40,000 tablets to students on the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) on October 2.The devices are targeted at pupils in grades four to six.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams, in her address at the presentation ceremony, said the initiative aims to assist the most vulnerable students to access lessons online during the pandemic.

She noted that other initiatives are being pursued to ensure that more students are provided with the tools necessary for learning.

These include: the purchase of 15,000 laptops for PATH students in grades 10 to 13; procurement of 16,000 tablets for PATH students in grades 7 to 9; the Own Your Own Device Incentive, through which the Government is assisting with the purchase of tablets or laptops for non-PATH students; and the 'One Laptop or Tablet per Child' initiative, which is a partnership with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) to equip students with the tools to access online education.

Williams said that even when students return to the physical classrooms, they will still be using the devices to help with learning and research.

She noted that efforts continue to equip schools with internet access, while the Government is working to improve the country's broadband infrastructure.

“There were 235 schools across Jamaica that had no internet connectivity and we are (equipping them with) satellite technology, and I know that within the last couple of weeks, 40 schools would have gotten their internet connectivity. We have 60 more to go in terms of the 100 that we targeted,” she shared.

She added that discussions are underway with vendors for connectivity at the other schools.