Homestead Primary in St Catherine gets smartroom
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Students attending the St Catherine-based Homestead Primary and Infant School now have access to a smartroom, which is equipped with information and communications technology (ICT) devices to enhance learning.
Digicel Foundation retrofitted an existing space to accommodate the smartroom, which represents an investment of US$60,000. It boasts 12 laptops, 12 tablets, a smart board, a printer, air-conditioning units and is furnished with desks and chairs. There is also a smart lock for safety, and the school installed a camera system. The room can accommodate 24 students at any one time.
Teachers received several days of intensive training on how to use the smart board.
Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, who delivered the keynote address during Wednesday’s opening of the facility, said she was pleased that “a private corporate entity has reached out to another of our public educational institutions to help with its infrastructure and teaching and learning programmes”.
“We are also happy for this project, as it fits right in with our focus in introducing Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education and technical, vocational education and training in a more expansive way at the lower levels of the system than we now do,” she noted.
Minister Williams said the rapid technological advances and the move towards a knowledge-based society require a reassessment of the content and delivery of education to better prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century. As such, she said that children must be provided with a good foundation that will enable them to perform with confidence in the digital age.
Social Development Consultant with the Digicel Foundation, Miguel Williams, in his remarks, informed that the company would have invested more than US$630,000 in the establishment of 10 smart-rooms in primary schools across the island by 2024.
He noted that the smart room initiative forms part of Digicel Foundation’s Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) project, which is aimed at helping to bridge the digital divide.
“We believe that by investing in education, particularly in STEAM, we are investing in the future leaders, scientists, engineers and creative minds, who will drive our nation forward,” he said.
“The world is rapidly evolving, and it is imperative that our young minds are equipped with the skills and knowledge that will empower them to thrive in an ever-changing landscape,” Williams added.
Principal of the school, Sophia Deer, noted that the smartroom will not only advance STEAM education but support the institution’s special education programme.
“We are really grateful,” she said.