Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, says that the tablets and laptops being provided to students will be equipped with security features to prevent students from using them to access inappropriate content.
“We are putting in place a device management system, so that we can know what the children are accessing. We can prevent you from accessing sites that you shouldn’t; that’s in the works. All the laptops that are coming in now have the device management system in place,” she said.
“We want you to be safe when you access the online world, we want you to learn about cybersecurity and so on. So we are not just giving [the devices] to you for you to be entertained by it but to use it as a learning device to help you all the way through your school life,” she added.
Mrs. Williams was speaking at the handover of 100 tablet computers by the National Commercial Bank (NCB) Foundation to students at the Constant Spring Primary and Junior High School, at the institution’s Cassava Piece Road location in St. Andrew on February 3.
Minister Williams lauded the NCB Foundation for supporting the Government efforts to bridge the digital divide in the country.
She urged the recipients to use the devices wisely, learn as much as they can and take care of them.
“Keep and care the devices because they are going to be with you as you journey on through school. Use it well; use it wisely. It will enrich your learning, it will enable you to learn faster and learn way more than you probably would have,” she said.
Mrs. Williams added that, over time, it is hoped that the devices will assist in improving the grades of students.
“I know that in time, we are going to see better outcomes from the education system in terms of higher numeracy and literacy, higher Primary Exit Profile (PEP) scores, higher Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) scores, and more students matriculating from high schools into tertiary institutions, and so on,” she said.
In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer, NCB Foundation, Nadeen Matthews Blair, said the donation is in support of the Government’s drive to enable students to access online learning.
She informed that the Foundation, through its Stewart Reid Adopted Primary School Programme, has, so far, distributed 1,184 tablets to primary-level institutions.
“We responded to the Ministry of Education’s call for donations with our $50-million pledge, and the devices that we have donated, so far, represent $25 million of this commitment.
“We are in the process of sourcing the devices for the other $25 million, so that these tablets will be in the hands of our primary-school students,” she added.
Ms. Matthews Blair said the Foundation is committed to playing its part in “catalysing a digital Jamaica and a digital society”.
The donation by the NCB Foundation is in support of the ‘One Laptop or Tablet per Child’ initiative, which is designed to promote inclusivity in the education sector.
It aims to provide needy students with the requisite tools to function in the online teaching and learning environment.