Friday 14 August, 2020

All Government School Students to Receive Free Access to a Laptop

Red Bay Primary School Student, Isiah Allen works remotely on his laptop on loan.

Red Bay Primary School Student, Isiah Allen works remotely on his laptop on loan.

The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) has announced the Cabinet’s approved funding for the provision of laptops to all Government school students for use at home and at school.

The Cabinet has approved allocating additional funding to purchase computing devices, additional wireless equipment, increased helpdesk support, software licensing for additional devices, additional bandwidth and/or upgraded internet connections in all schools, professional development and pedagogical support. 

Following the Government’s mandate to close of all educational institutions on March 16 in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, government schools prepared printed paper-based learning packets, initiated online lessons and provided additional access to web-based resources for distance learning.  The availability of computing devices for all students to access online resources was identified as a challenge. 

In response to this challenge, approximately 650 laptops were distributed. Students undertaking critical examinations during the 2019/2020 academic year were prioritized to receive laptops on loan.  

A public and private sector partnership named, ‘The Education for Everyone Initiative’ was formed between MEYSAL and the Literacy Is for Everyone (LIFE) programme, with the aim to facilitate a solution for children who do not have access to computing devices and internet access for distance and home learning. Organizations and companies such as Cayman Airways, Digicel, Flow, The Foster Group, KPMG, Logic, PwC, R3 Cayman Foundation, Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise and SALT Technology Group have all participated in the initiative.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to fast track a programme of providing computers for all of our students in public schools. Last year we provided laptops for all of our teachers.  This One-to-One laptop programme will provide our government school students with free access to a personal computing device, further closing the gap on the digital divide. Having a personal computer also hones certain values such as responsibility, accountability and pride of ownership. This is advantageous as we continue to nation-build. Almost 2000 computers have already been donated and our government will finance the remainder of computers for approximately 5000 students. I would like to thank our ICT team and our many private sector partners for their assistance with donations,” commented the Minister for Education and Youth, the Honourable Juliana O’Connor-Connolly.

In the next coming weeks, MEYSAL will embark upon the procurement process to secure vendors in compliance with the CIG Procurement Law.

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