Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Free Microsoft software for 500,000 students

Published:Wednesday | November 25, 2020 | 12:22 AM

Education Minister Fayval Williams has announced that 500,000 students and teachers are to benefit from Microsoft Office 365 suite free of cost.

She made the announcement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday while giving an update on the education sector.

Williams said that Microsoft had made the $2.1-billion “contribution” to the schools.

Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based platform comprising a number of productivity applications.

Students will be able to access Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher (PC only), Access (PC only), and services that include Teams and SharePoint.

Students will have access to the Microsoft Office 365 software as long as they are students in participating institutions.

The education ministry will be distributing these licences to teachers, principals, students at the secondary level, as well as students at teachers’ colleges, community colleges, and other multidisciplinary institutions.

Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts, the College of Agriculture, Science and Education, G..C Foster College, the Caribbean Maritime University, Knockalva Polytechnic, students in the equivalent of grades 10-13 at independent schools, and children in primary schools will also benefit.

“We are only just beginning the technological journey with our children as we empower them to make the grade in the global economy, think their way through abstract problems, work in teams, and distinguish good information from bad,” the education minister said.

“We are on the journey to equip our students for the complexities of the 21st century. Our Jamaican children will not be left behind.”

In the meantime, Williams announced that her ministry is now reworking an arrangement it has with transport operators to provide a shuttle services for the 17 schools that have resumed face-to-face classes.

“In the previous week, a meeting was held with the Ministry of Transport and Mining and we continue to work with them to develop a mapping of the logistics arrangements for JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) support as well as other providers,” she said.

A second meeting is being planned with the transport ministry and taxi associations to help streamline the movement of students.