Robinson: Tablets in Schools Programme a boost for entrepreneurism
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS):State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining Julian Robinson says the ministry's Tablets in School Programme is expected to strengthen the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in Jamaica, particularly among students.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank forum, at the agency's head office in Kingston, Robinson contended that early exposure of students to technology will enable them to develop new approaches to problem-solving by their engagement in more analytical thinking, which, he said, should unearth and enhance their creativity.
Technology "will encourage them to experiment, think outside the box, and come up with solutions", which the state minister added, may in the long term "enhance that culture of entrepreneurship and innovation".
The idea is for young Jamaicans to create "great apps" and the technological solutions that can be used "elsewhere in the world," he said.
Robinson cited the Digital Jam Apps Competition, and Kingstoon Animation Festival, as well as the impending Start-up Jamaica initiative, as engagements which he said have provided and will give 'tech-trepreneurs' a major boost in establishing and launching their entrepreneurial endeavours.
In light of this, the state minister emphasised the importance of the schools' tablet computer distribution project, which he described as pivotal to Jamaica's future advancements.
He further said the project also aims to enhance students' learning capabilities, while providing them with greater access to unlimited information.
A total of 25,000 tablets are to be distributed to teachers and students in 38 educational institutions islandwide, including early childhood, primary, and secondary schools, under the project's initial pilot phase.
Distribution commenced in July, with 180 devices being delivered to seven institutions to enable the commencement of training in the instruments' use by teachers.
Four suppliers have been contracted to provide the tablets under the year-long pilot project. They include: Digicel, Innovative Corporate Solutions, Productive Business Solutions, and GeoTechVision Enterprises.
Robinson also advised that nearly 200 information technology Community Access Points have been established at post offices, church halls, and community centres islandwide, to widen Internet access.
Approximately 60 hospitals and health centres have also been outfitted with broadband, with police stations soon to come on stream under the ministry's technology programme for state institutions.
"This will help us achieve the objective of driving up Internet penetration. We want to ensure that, from a very young age, Jamaicans have access to technology," Robinson said.