Thu | Jul 29, 2021

CHASE Fund providing $50 million to purchase tablets for students in infant schools

Published:Monday | March 22, 2021 | 9:32 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness making his contribution to the 2021/22 Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on March 18, 2021. Holness pointed out that the sector hardest hit by the pandemic is education.

The Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund will provide $50 million towards the procurement and distribution of tablets to more than 2,000 students in infant schools islandwide.

The initiative will be done through a partnership with the National Education Trust.

In his 2021/22 Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives last Thursday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness pointed out that the sector hardest hit by the pandemic is education.

Holness expressed fear that early childhood learners would be hardest hit, as they are at the age where they are most receptive to learning and foundational skills.

“I fear it will have the most far-reaching, long-lasting, and devastating effect on our society and prospect for faster, stronger, and better recovery. In an already uneven and unequal system, the pandemic would have widened the education divide in our society. I have asked the Minister of Education to do a comprehensive study on learning loss in the system and make recommendations to Cabinet by June 15 on how this could be corrected,” he said.

“We must get our children back to school by September 2021. I have insisted that teachers should be in the first phase of those being prioritised for vaccination. Depending on how quickly we can get our teachers vaccinated, we could possibly consider summer school as an option for make-up classes,” Holness added.

For months, since the pandemic began, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has been distributing tablets to needy students islandwide through the Tablets in Schools Programme, of which Cabinet approved the procurement of 40,000 tablet computers for students and 25,000 devices for teachers in 2020.

Members of the private sector, the Diaspora, and other persons have also been donating tablets for needy students.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.