Technology firms to facilitate internet access through partnership with Education Ministry

September 30, 2020
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams, addressing Tuesday's sitting of the House of Representatives at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has partnered with Flow, Digicel and ReadyTV to facilitate internet access, and broadband services to enable teaching and learning, utilising the G-Suite learning management system.

Speaking during Tuesday's sitting of the House of Representatives, Education Minister, Fayval Williams said, “this means that all principals, teachers, students and parents can now be engaged in virtual/online teaching and learning activities without the need to utilise their personal Internet data.” 

She told the House that the ministry is also now completing the negotiations for schools to have the bandwidth required to host lessons.

She said that an allocation to augment data support for teachers and students is also being considered.

“All the technical processes are being implemented, including training of key stakeholders. Already, over 952 schools have activated their account,” she said.

Ms. Williams informed that Flow and Digicel will also continue to offer their reduced education data plans.

“Once an individual subscribes to an education data plan, in addition to voice minutes and data, they will have zero-rated access to 17 frequently used learning platforms and websites via the Flow network and 128 frequently used learning platforms and websites via the Digicel network,” she noted.

In addition, ReadyTV will continue the installation of its broadband Internet in the 100 communities approved by the Ministry.

“The Ministry is also exploring other initiatives to support the other 138 schools that cannot access any network,” Minister Williams said.

G-Suite is a learning management application that includes the Google Classroom, which can be deployed to host all online classes while at school or from a remote location.

Classes will resume on October 5 but students will remain at home, where they will be able to access lessons virtually, via television, radio and cable, or through the delivery of printed materials.

The decision was made to delay face-to-face lessons as the country experiences community spread of COVID-19, which has seen a spike in positive cases.

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