Teachers will get tablets, Anderson assures

Teachers will get tablets, Anderson assures

Observer writer

Monday, June 29, 2020

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LUCEA, Hanover — Immediate past president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) Dr Garth Anderson says an appeals process has been established to address issues that may arise during the distribution of over 25,000 tablet computers to public school teachers across the island.

During a ceremony at the PCJ Auditorium in New Kingston in May, a symbolic sum of $700 million was handed over to e-Learning Jamaica by the Universal Service Fund (USF) — a limited liability company established in 2005 as an agency of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET) — for the procurement of the devices.

Since then, the scheduled distribution has begun with Samsung-branded 10-inch tablet computers being provided to teachers on a parish by parish basis.

Dr Anderson noted that all teachers who were on the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information payroll — whether permanent, temporary or acting — when the JTA signed the heads of agreement with the Government in May 2018 are entitled to a device.

However, addressing the JTA's Hanover annual general meeting via Zoom on Wednesday, he said that the JTA recognises that there will likely be hiccups during distribution. The JTA, he added, is aware that since the process began in 2018, teachers have moved from one school to another, which may impact handout of the devices.

“If you are at a particular school and your name is not on that particular school's list to get a tablet, there is an appeal process set up… to ensure that you get your tablet,” he explained. “Once you were [working at a school] and you have evidence of you being there, [and there are] several ways that you can do that, you are entitled to your tablet, and can get it.”

The Tablets for Teachers Programme forms part of an agreement between the Government and the JTA to provide each teacher in public schools with the device as part of the compensation package.

The tablet computers will be for the personal use of educators as well as to assist with the delivering of the Ministry of Education's schools' curriculum. In recent months, the delivery of lessons online has become the new norm as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which has transformed the teaching/learning environment.

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