5,000 laptops for secondary PATH students arrive in island


5,000 laptops for secondary PATH students arrive in island

Monday, January 18, 2021

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THE Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has received the first shipment of 5,000 laptops to be distributed to secondary students in grades 10 to 13 on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).

The allocation is part of a total of 15,000 laptops valued at $900 million that was procured by e-Learning Jamaica (e-LJam). The remaining laptops are expected to arrive in February and March.

Distribution of the electronic devices, which is to begin soon, is to be undertaken by the Post and Telecommunications Department (Jamaica Post). Also, each laptop is to be equipped with a device management system.

E-Learning Jamaica is also in receipt of 5, 700 tablets to complete the roll-out of the 40,000 tablets to primary schools islandwide. These will also have device management software installed, as an anti-theft measure.

In her address at the official handover of the devices at the Post and Telecommunications Department in Kingston, Education Minister Fayval Williams said the ministry continues work to establish a robust framework to support online learning.

“The devices are just the beginning. We have to continue to train our teachers to deliver on the online platform, as well as in the physical world. We have to ensure that we have the support systems in place and the [appropriate] educational software,” she said.

“We have to ensure that when they go on, they are in a safe space. We have to teach them about cybersecurity and how to be safe when they go online. It is a comprehensive programme that we think of when we are putting these devices into the hands of students,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology will be undertaking the installation of a suite of e-learning software on the devices, according to portfolio Minister Daryl Vaz. In his remarks, the minister emphasised the importance of the collaboration between both ministries and e-LJam in providing an equitable learning experience for the nation's youth.

“The arrival of these laptops is yet another initiative by the Government to facilitate learning in the COVID–19 environment and to assist our students in accessing the virtual landscape,” he said.

And director of public assistance in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Fancie Adman, said the ministry fully supports the initiative.

“The ministry stands ready to work along with our fellow agencies to ensure that our PATH beneficiaries get this important tool which will serve to enhance their learning experience,” she said.

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