The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has commenced the distribution of 40,000 tablets to 500 primary schools, under the Government’s Tablets in School Programme.
The first recipient, Holy Family Infant and Primary School, received 146 tablets to support virtual learning for students on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
The devices, were handed over during a ceremony held on October 2, at the school’s Laws Street address in downtown Kingston.The tablets are being distributed by e-Learning Jamaica (e-LJam) and will be targeted at students in grades four to six.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams said the distribution of the devices is meant to augment an estimated 18,000 tablets and over 12,000 desktop computers already in the school system.
“We have 36,000 of them on the island right now and e- Learning will be going to all our primary schools across the island to deliver these tablets. This is the first allocation and as we go along, the Government will look to find additional resources maybe in the next school year to ensure that… all our students have a laptop or tablet to assist them in their educational pursuits,” Mrs. Williams said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), e-LJam, Keith Smith told JIS News that the total value of the tablets being distributed in schools this year is US$6.2 million. These resources, he said, are critical to supporting virtual learning.
“Without the device they can’t do anything and our experience with the coronavirus (COVID-19), a lot of students don’t have a device. Providing these devices to students is the first step to being able to access e-content and e-learning,” Mr. Smith said.
Meanwhile, Principal of Holy Family Infant and Primary School, Christopher Wright expressed gratitude for the donation noting that “the students will benefit greatly from this and I am confident that the parents will also show their appreciation by ensuring that the students are engaged in this new teaching and learning process.”
e-Learning Jamaica Limited is also working with public secondary schools to procure laptops for students in grades 10 to 13 who are on PATH, as well as for other needy students.
The distribution of tablets are expected to be completed by the end of November.