Jamaican company raises funds to donate tablets to kids

Career & Education

Jamaican company raises funds to donate tablets to kids

Sunday, April 19, 2020

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In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and the closure of schools, geospatial technology firm GeoTechVision has launched an initiative dubbed 'EduTechAid' to help children at home in underserved communities across the island access tablets to keep up with their lessons and studies online.

On Wednesday the company launched a website - www.edutechaid.com - appealing to private sector companies and individuals to donate to the cause, which will see pupils gifted with the company's trademarked Geo tablets.

“COVID-19 has not only interrupted the traditional learning process and curricula, it has revealed the fragility of confining learning within the precincts of the four walls of a physical classroom, and has triggered a new normal of agile, virtual learning as the way forward,” GeoTechVision Managing Director Valrie Grant said.

“For us in Jamaica, learning with the help of a flexible digital device, such as a mobile tablet is no longer a 'nice-to-have', it has become a basic necessity of life and learning for every Jamaican child,” she argued.

The website offers options for corporate and indivual donations. Firms can purchase packages of learning tablets and indicate the specific community of need or individuals they wish to support. Individuals may offer to purchase any number of tablets or to make customised donations toward the purchase of a tablet, and may indicate who they would want to support with a tablet.

“At GeoTech, we asked ourselves two questions – does every student have access to a tablet or computer to access the Government's online learning resources? And if not, what is happening to the kids at home who don't have the digital tools to go online?” Grant explained.

“We are launching EduTechAid as part of our Student Digital Citizenship Programme to address this adverse challenge facing many of our children, who are easily distracted in lockdown situations at home. It is our confident hope that other companies in the private sector, as well as private individuals, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and charities will come on board, and partner with our efforts to make this vital contribution,” she added.

Among its corporate partners on the initiative, to date, GeoTechVision listed We Love Learning, out of Canada; Cerulean Inc, a Guyanese company; Iplay, an American company; and local companies such as iThink and Summers Distribution Company.

Schools in Jamaica were ordered closed as of March 13, at around the same time UNESCO was reporting that over 300 million students worldwide were home as a result of school closures in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

GeoTech says it is imperative that there is a sustained national effort to ensure that children with limited or no access to online learning resources get the required educational tools to learn under these difficult circumstances.

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