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10,000 Laptops Being Provided to High Schools

A total of 173 secondary-level institutions across the island will be provided with 10,000 laptops, valued at $4.3 million, to outfit their computer laboratories.

The initiative is being undertaken by E-Learning Jamaica Company Limited (e-LJAM).

The devices will assist students in preparing for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and also help in developing skills in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).

Beneficiary institutions are those that would have received desktops under a project, which started in 2006, to equip high schools with computer labs and devices.

Many of the desktops provided are now obsolete and e-LJAM is replacing them with laptops.

Holy Trinity High became the first institution to receive devices with the official handover of the first 30 of 68 laptops at the school in Kingston on Wednesday (March 15).

The other 38 laptops, which will be presented to the school shortly, will outfit a second lab that is being retrofitted and a half-room computer lab.

Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, in her remarks at the handover ceremony, said the Ministry is committed to providing adequate resources to improve student academic outcomes.

She pointed out that coinciding with the laptop donation is the provision of 500,000 Microsoft Office 365 licences to students and educators in public schools.

The licence will allow students to access Microsoft productivity tools, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, One Note and OneDrive.

In his remarks, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz, said the education sector will continue to adapt to modern technologies, with a focus on STEAM.

“STEAM is the way of the future; there’s no avoiding it. A country’s growth is directly impacted by its ability to adapt and solve problems, which is why the emphasis on STEM education is an imperative,” he pointed out.

Principal of Holy Trinity High, Father Carl Clarke, said he was pleased that the computers were being provided before the commencement of the CAPE and CSEC examinations in May this year.

“We are indeed grateful for this gift. We commit ourselves to taking care of them and using them to assist with the continued academic development at our school because we recognise that only the best is good enough,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer of e-LJAM, Andrew Lee, informed that over the last three years, the entity has delivered 150,000 technology devices to the most vulnerable students across the island.

He noted that work will continue to help “prepare our young people to adapt effectively to a changing world, largely dependent on technology”.