Tue | Sep 21, 2021

Own Your Own Device programme to be rolled out next week

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2021 | 1:42 PM
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Willians (centre), displays a tablet while at a presentation ceremony held at the St Catherine High School in Spanish Town on February 25, 2021. With Williams (from left) are Jennoy Francis and John Gardner (students); principal of the school, Marlon Campbell, and Board Chairman, Sharon Dale. The school received 150 tablets under the One Laptop or Tablet Per Child Initiative - Contributed photo.

Minister of Education,  Fayval Williams, says the rollout of the Government’s Own Your Own Device programme will commence next week.

The programme will benefit more than 36,000 needy students in high school, with parents or guardians receiving electronic vouchers (e-Vouchers) valued at $20,000 for the purchase of a laptop at approved vendors.

Williams, who was delivering the keynote address at the handover of tablets at St Catherine High School in Spanish Town on February 25, said the system had to be protected by technology, and beneficiaries are about to start receiving the support.

“We are very confident that we can begin rolling this out. It is going to be an e-Voucher that the beneficiary will receive, and you will be able to take your phone to the vendor and do the transaction. We totally tested the system, and messages are going out to the beneficiaries,” she said.

Williams noted that only 18,000 persons have applied to the programme, and “room” still exists on the initiative, so persons can still make use of the opportunity by applying to oyod@moe.gov.jm or at educate@educate.gov.jm.

St Catherine High School received 150 tablets from efforts made by the Jamaican Consul General to New York, Alsion Wilson, while Homestead Primary School got 30 tablets and one laptop from the United States Agency for International Development, through their funded Local Partner Development.

The school also received 15 tablets from New Fortress Energy.

Principal of St Catherine High, Marlon Campbell, said the devices are quite valuable to education and are now critical to “revolutionise the academic space”, adding that when used correctly and for the right purpose, it can be an explosion of knowledge and academic growth.

He lauded the “tremendous work” of the Consul General to “implore Jamaicans in the Diaspora to contribute to a worthy cause”.

Councillor for the Homestead Division, Mark McLean, who is also Vice Chairman of the Homestead Primary School Board, said the gifts will help advance and further improve the performance of students.

Principal of the school, Sophia Deer, said the devices will “go a far way in assisting our students to engage in the new norm, and we are most grateful”.

Involved in the effort to get tablets from the Diaspora are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and the National Education Trust, under the ‘One Laptop or Tablet Per Child Initiative’.

This project is designed to promote inclusivity in the education sector and also to provide needy students with the requisite tools to function in the online teaching and learning environment.

It includes ensuring equity in access to information and communications technology (ICT)-based learning.

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