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One laptop per child initiative just 12 per cent of target; minister still confident

WITH lower school students in public schools forced away from face-to-face classes because of the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases across the island, the Ministry of Education is pushing even more on its One Laptop or Tablet per Child Initiative.

The initiative, which is spearheaded by the National Education Trust, has already seen 12,700 devices collected, with the vast majority being distributed. But that is just over 12 per cent of the 100,000 targeted.

Private sector entities, social and service clubs, and individuals have been stepping up to the plate and Minister of Education Fayval Williams is confident that others will donate.

“The One Laptop or Tablet per Child Initiative is going to be an ongoing one. Our goal is to ensure that all of our students have a device… and that they are able to have that as their own to take it home with them so that they will have access to it on weekends or holidays and to be able to use it as an educational device.

“Technology is going to remain an important part of the teaching and learning experience. We have seen a significant adoption of that in the education sector,” said Williams on Wednesday at her National Heroes’ Circle, Kingston office as she collected 100 tablets donated by the construction firm Stone Plus Limited.

The donation was arranged through the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica, and Stone Plus specified that the tablets should go to students of the Dalvey Primary, Lyssons Primary and Trinityville Primary in St Thomas and Georges Plain Primary and Grange Hill Primary in Westmoreland.

Addressing the handover, administrative manager of Stone Plus, Saccherine Chin, said these schools were specially selected after the company decided to make the donation.

“Our director… wanted us to focus on schools that are less likely to be first choice for some organisations [and] I thought it would be prudent to use two of the schools which he attended, Lyssons Primary and Grange Hill Primary,” said Chin as she appealed to other entities to provide devices for the children.

“These are our children, this is our legacy. This is our future. Let us together join hands in an effort to preserve it,” added Chin. Earlier on Wednesday the education minister participated in the handover of 25 tablets to students of the Gregory Park Primary School in St Catherine. Those tablets were donated by the Kiwanis Club of South St Catherine.

The One Laptop or Tablet per Child Initiative is designed to promote inclusivity in the education sector. By providing needy students with tools to function in the online teaching and learning environment.

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