Williams hails support for 'One Laptop or Tablet per Child' initiative

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Williams hails support for 'One Laptop or Tablet per Child' initiative

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams, is hailing private donors for their support of the 'One Laptop or Tablet Per Child' initiative.

The programme, launched in October 2020 in partnership with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), was developed to provide devices for needy students who are not on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), in order to enable them to effectively participate in electronic learning.

Williams said she is delighted with the contributions of cash and devices by organisations and individuals.

“We are pleased with the support that we have gotten from our private sector, our Diaspora members and individuals across Jamaica. At the end of December, we had very close to 6,000 devices that have been distributed and we have cash as well, almost $100 million, that we will be using to purchase additional devices,” she noted.

The minister was speaking at a ceremony for the presentation of tablet computers valued at $2.8 million to the Union Gardens and Evelyn Mitchell Infant schools, held on Tuesday (January 19), at Union Gardens Infant's Daffodil Avenue location in St Andrew.

A sum of $2 million was spent to secure devices for Union Gardens Infant through the Union Gardens Foundation, and $800,000 for the Clarendon-based Evelyn Mitchell Infant through the Cari-Med Foundation.

“A big thank you to all our corporate sponsors. All the students here will be equipped now with tablets, which is the ideal. This is what we want, allowing them to have the device,” Williams said.

Meanwhile, she informed that applications have reopened for the 'Own Your Own Device Incentive Programme', which will benefit 36,000 needy students in primary and secondary schools across the island, who are not on PATH.

Under the programme, parents or guardians will receive an electronic voucher (eVoucher) valued at $20,000 for the purchase of a device from an approved vendor.

Chairman of the Union Gardens and Cari-Med Foundations, Dr Glen Christian, in his remarks, noted that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has presented an opportunity for greater private sector involvement in the education sector.

He called on more private individuals and entities to come forward and partner with the Education Ministry to equip students with technology devices.

Councillor for the Whitfield Town Division, Eugene Kelly, lauded Dr Christian for the support to the schools and continued contribution to national development through various programmes and initiatives.

Principal of Union Gardens Infant, Grace-Ann Moss-Solomon, and Principal of the Evelyn Mitchell Infant, Shelliann Copper-Shaw, also expressed gratitude for the tablets donated to the institutions.

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