Gov't to spend $300 million more on digital devices for studentsThursday, May 06, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Several needy students are set to benefit from over $300 million allocated by the Government to purchase digital devices under the SERVE Jamaica Digital Device Programme.
This was announced by Minister of Finance and Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke during yesterday's Sitting of the House of Representatives.
According to Dr Clarke, $189 million will be made available for needy students identified by Members of Parliament who have not benefited from other Government laptop/digital device programmes, while $140 million will be made available for the purchase of digital devices for needy students, identified by councillors.
The minister said once the devices have been procured by e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited, the ministry will make payment to the supplier directly, by instruction from the Accountant General's Department.
He said the programme is a collaboration between the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service; the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology; the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; Members of Parliament through the Constituency Development Fund; the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and councillors.
Dr Clarke noted that 122,000 digital devices would have been provided for PATH and non-PATH students by the end of the school year through initiatives such as the Own Your Device Programme, the One Laptop or Tablet per Child Initiative in collaboration with the diaspora and corporate Jamaica as well as the Government procurement programme for PATH students.
“All the members of this House know from experience that with the best-designed and best-implemented social programmes, anywhere in the world, for a variety of practical reasons, there will always be coverage gaps. Members of Parliament and councillors know needy constituents and families who are not enrolled in PATH for instance and others who, for technical reasons wouldn't qualify, but who are in every practical sense in need of assistance,” the minister said.
He added that, “The government is aware of coverage gaps and hence the strategy of employing a variety of complementary distribution mechanisms to reach the target population with appropriate safeguards to prevent waste and duplication.”
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