28 top PEP students receive laptop computers
Hard work and diligence have paid off for 28 students, who were recently recognised by the Universal Service Fund (USF) for outstanding performance in the 2021 Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations.
The top-performing students, one boy and one girl from every parish, were each presented with a laptop computer by USF to assist them in virtual learning, which has become necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The presentation took place during a ceremony at the Altamont Court in New Kingston recently.
The recipients are Kayla Callum and Abraham Waugh for Kingston; Kyla Campbell, Antoine Campbell from St Andrew; Dajanique Hylton, Jalil Douglas of St Thomas; Alexander Lee, Dajonelle Murray from Portland; Azuka Nduka, Morgan Gordon – St Mary; Takaylia Robinson, Camron Betton from St Ann; Kenneil Walker, Nateisha Richards – Trelawny; Giselle-Ann Swaby, Veerendra Biragie – St James; Altania Lawrence, Daniel Johnson – Hanover; Sai Pydipalli and Jaden Drummond – Westmoreland; Sydonia Nembhard, Zane Thompson – St Elizabeth; Chun Shen, Jantje Livermore – Manchester; Kayana Edwards and Maleek Simpson – Clarendon; and Kyle Walker and Lakaya Brown from St Catherine.
In congratulating the top performers, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz urged them to set big goals for themselves, apply themselves to their studies, aggressively pursue their dreams and never settle for mediocrity.
“We are proud of your achievements thus far. Your work has proven that you are capable and have potential and ability to change not just your life but also transform this nation,” Vaz said.
He said he was pleased that the USF has been instrumental in providing funding and resources to increase access to Internet connectivity and the provision of devices.
“At a time when remote learning has often replaced face-to-face instruction, the ownership of a device and Internet connectivity are crucial to the educational advancement of our children,” he pointed out.
Vaz said that COVID-19 has significantly impacted the nation’s children, noting that the pandemic has made it clear that an education system powered by technology is the only way forward.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams congratulated the students, noting that they have displayed resilience, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“I am delighted that, once again, we are able to collaborate with the Universal Service Fund to provide these devices that can aid your learning and give you the exposure to information and communications technology in particular,” she said.
She encouraged the students to stay on track and remain focused on their studies.
Chief Executive Officer, USF, Daniel Dawes, in his remarks, noted that the annual presentation of laptops is one of the ways in which the entity supports the development of a digital society.
“The USF takes special interest in our students because we believe that if we are to develop the skills required for a digitally inclusive economy, we must start at the root of our society, and that is our children,” he said.
Principal of Ardenne High School, Nadine Molloy, urged the students, as they embrace the technology, not to do so at the expense of relationships with their classmates, teachers and parents.
“Do not embrace technology in such a way that it becomes all about you; you are still a part of a community,” she said.
She urged the children to be careful when they are online and encouraged parents to be even more supportive of their children and/or ward(s). “They are becoming more independent… . It can’t be that you leave them up to the Internet to parent them; pay keen attention,” she advised.