Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Tablet vouchers for 36,000 non-PATH kids

Published:Wednesday | September 30, 2020 | 12:20 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Fayval Williams, minister of education, makes an address during a sitting of the House of Representatives at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on Tuesday.
Fayval Williams, minister of education, makes an address during a sitting of the House of Representatives at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on Tuesday.

Some 36,000 needy students not registered on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) will be able to benefit from vouchers towards the purchase of tablets or laptops.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams said the vouchers are valued at $20,000 each.

“There will be a registration process and criteria for the selection of the 36,000 students. We will announce the start date for the registration process,” she said during a sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Williams also outlined specifications that parents would be guided by, noting that tablets must have a minimum of 1GB memory, 32GB storage, and at least an eight-inch screen.

Laptops should have a minimum of 4GB of memory and 500GB of storage. They should also be equipped with an Intel i3 or dual-core processor.

The minister added that state agency e-Learning Jamaica had negotiated wholesale prices with selected vendors for devices, which will have a 12-month warranty.

Another 40,000 students who are PATH beneficiaries will begin receiving their tablets commencing October 2.

The minister said that 34,000 devices are already on the island and she expects the distribution to be completed by November.

Williams added that the ministry was in talks with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica to launch a ‘one laptop or tablet per child initiative’.

“We are calling on corporate Jamaica, NGOs, faith-based organisations, international development partners, private individuals, and the diaspora to help us equip our students to be able to access online education,” she appealed.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com