Tue | Aug 11, 2020

Tablets delivered at Hope Valley

Published:Friday | July 10, 2020 | 12:05 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Fayval Williams, (second right) Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, looks at a tablet computer with from left Keith Smith, CEO of e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited; Anthony Grant, principal of Hope Valley Experimental School and Daniel Dawes, CEO
Fayval Williams, (second right) Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, looks at a tablet computer with from left Keith Smith, CEO of e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited; Anthony Grant, principal of Hope Valley Experimental School and Daniel Dawes, CEO of the Universal Service Fund during an exercise on July 7 to deliver tablets to teachers at the Hope Valley Experimental School.

Thirty-four tablet computers were handed over to Hope Valley Experimental School on Tuesday under the Tablets for Teachers Programme.

The Government and the Jamaica Teachers’ Association signed an agreement in May 2018 for the provision of 25,000 tablets for teachers islandwide.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of e-Learning Jamaica, Keith Smith, said that just under 18,000 tablets are on the island, and the remainder are expected to arrive later this month.

“We commenced a couple weeks ago, the formal roll-out, and we’ve already completed the parishes of Portland and St Thomas. This week, the team will be mobilising in Trelawny, in St Mary, and Westmoreland,” said Smith.

Jamaica Post has been assisting with the distribution of the tablets, which is slated to end in August.

As the implementing partner, he said e-Learning has put in place a service-assurance process to ensure that repairs and servicing can be conducted locally.

The tablets are provided for teachers’ personal use and should be used for curriculum support where necessary.

Principal Anthony Grant expressed gratitude for the devices, which will alleviate many of the challenges that have become more apparent as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on education.

“Prior to now, it was a bit bothersome for me to hear that ‘Sir, I don’t have any gadget at all, I don’t have a phone or a tablet to work with’,” he said.

The school was also presented with a multi-unction printer from Productive Business Solutions.

Grant shared that the donation is timely as the school has been engaged in bulk printing to facilitate students and parents in the remote-learning process.

In her address, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Fayval Williams, said the institution has been a pillar of hope to the community for many years, as it caters to the “needs of both persons with disabilities and able-bodied students”.

She shared that during this financial year, 40,000 tablets would be distributed to infant, primary, and special-education schools as well as state-care facilities and teachers’ colleges.

“If we can provide the technology to our students with disabilities, we can reduce levels of illiteracy and improve the educational and socio-economic prospects of our students,” Williams said.

The Tablets for Teachers Programme costs approximately $800 million, and each tablet is valued at approximately US$200.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com