One thousand two hundred students are to receive tablet computers donated by persons in the diaspora, through a drive spearheaded by Jamaica’s Consul General to New York, Alsion Wilson.
The effort is spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and the National Education Trust (NET).
Addressing a handover ceremony at the Education Ministry in Kingston, today (February 16), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said the initiative emanated from an appeal by the Government for support, adding that more tablets will be shipped to the island, so that “more young lives” will benefit.
“At times such as these when countries are facing similar challenges, and all children are challenged, these donations are even more appreciated. We also appreciate the thoughtfulness of the donors – The Fisher Family Foundation: the Arthur and Helen Baer Charitable Foundation; Mr. Adam Groothuis; Mr. Raymond Goulbourne of the BET Network; Ms. Brigid Donnelly; Mr. Greg Johnson from Oppenheimer; and the Fuertado family, who shipped the devices to Jamaica,” she added.
She said the donation is another “tangible expression” of the cooperation between the two Ministries, and that the ‘One Laptop or Tablet Per Child’ initiative by the Ministry is as “ambitious as it is visionary and laudable”.
For her part, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, said the education system has been pushed to embrace the use of technology, and all hands must be on deck to help in bridging the digital divide.
She noted that the contribution from the diaspora is “very noteworthy and commendable”.
Mrs. Williams said the donation of the tablets goes beyond an immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis, and its disruptive effect on education in Jamaica.
“It is an investment in the future of Jamaica,” the Minister said, adding that children must have access to the most up-to-date technology in education.
The ‘One Laptop or Tablet Per Child Initiative’ is designed to promote inclusivity in the education sector, and to provide needy students with the requisite tools to function in the online teaching and learning environment.
It also includes ensuring equity in access to Information Communication Technology (ICT)-based learning.