Gospel artiste Kevin Downswell is showing that he hasn’t forgotten where he comes from, throwing his foundation’s support into assisting with the acquisition of tablets valued at $260,000 for distribution to students at the Ferris Primary School in Westmoreland
Downswell, CEO of the Kevin Downswell Foundation, is a past student of Ferris Primary School.
The 21 tablets, donated via a collective effort of several non-profit organisations which also included Voices for Jamaica Today Foundation, JN Foundation and KFC, were handed over on June 17.
During the handover ceremony, Education, Youth and Information Minister Fayval Williams said that, by the end of the school year, more than 125,000 tablets would have been issued to students under the Government’s Tablets in Schools Programme.
Williams noted that, in addition, some 25,000 teachers across the island have been trained to utilise the technology in order to facilitate online learning amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our students have been resilient. Has it been easy? No, but you know what, they have taken on the challenge and I want to salute them in not laying down arms in the pandemic,” the Minister said.
“Also, I want to commend our 25,000 teachers across Jamaica. They stepped up to the plate. They got trained. They can manage themselves in the online world. They have created thousands of virtual classrooms and thousands of students have found their way to these virtual classrooms,” she added.
Williams indicated that this technology will remain a permanent fixture of the Education sector going forward, as it is suited to equip students with the requisite skills needed for higher education and the world of work.
“We are happy to do it because we are moving Jamaica as well the technology along the pathway and we want all our citizens to be digitally literate,” she said.
“We want you to be able to access banking services online; health services are going to be available online; a lot of what the Government is doing is online, and we want you to access government services online. It will make you more efficient,” the minister noted.
Williams praised Downswell and his Foundation for shining a spotlight on the institution, noting that “when you give back, it encourages others [to do the same]”.
For his part, Downswell said students need to understand that despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, they are not alone in this fight and will be given the necessary educational support.