PACE Canada Donates 1,000 Tablets To Early-Childhood Sector

 In Children, Events, Fundraising

The educational software allows students aged 3 to 6 years old to teach themselves to become literate and numerate.

Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) Canada, has donated 1,000 OneTab tablet computers to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information  valued at approximately US$100,000 for the early-childhood sector.

The devices are in support of the Ministry’s ‘One Laptop or Tablet Per Child’ initiative and will be distributed to more than 200 institutions islandwide, based on a distribution list provided by PACE Canada. These students in rural areas are without computers and have had their education impacted greatly due to months of school closings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

PACE Board Member, Mark Fullerton, presented the tablets to portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, during a handover ceremony at the Ministry’s offices in Kingston on Thursday, November 11, 2021. A video of his speech, including images of 2 school visits, is available for viewing.

PACE Canada was able to obtain these devices thanks to the generous donations by our members, supporters, and community partnerships including the Jamaica Canadian Association’s Women’s Committee, George Brown College, Central Jamaica Organization, and family and friend’s donations in memory of loved ones such as the Palazzo family and the Margaret Samuels Foundation.

Minister Williams welcomed PACE Canada’s gesture, noting that the donations “have come at a very good time for our children”. She said that youngsters in early-childhood institutions are “probably the hardest hit” by the pandemic, as “they had to be at home … without the care and supervision of trained [early-childhood] practitioners”.

Mrs. Williams said that although face-to-face instructional delivery is gradually resuming, students will still have to use technology to access online learning. “We know we won’t be able to get every child back into the face-to-face environment [at the same time]; they will have to be rotated. So, while there are some children [who will be] in the classroom, others will still have to be using the online system,” she pointed out.

In his remarks, Mr. Fullerton, said that Jamaica is the first Caribbean nation, and one of 10+ countries worldwide, to adopt the OneTab devices specially developed by the, for the early-childhood sector. The device exclusively uses the OneCourse software that incorporates adaptive learning techniques in numeracy, literacy, and exploration modules.

Each lesson is based on the child’s level, using a pool of thousands of learning units. Once a child has finished their lesson, onetab can be seamlessly passed on to the next youngster for their use.

Mr. Fullerton said studies show that 40 minutes of daily lessons over eight weeks, can help to achieve significant increases in the child’s learning ability.

“We had a chance to visit two schools… and saw, first-hand, some of the challenges that you are facing during this pandemic. So, we know the challenges are great [and] look forward to continue helping our children in Jamaica,” he noted.

Also speaking at the ceremony were Executive Director of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Karlene DeGrasse Deslandes, and Director, Donor and Partnership Management, National Education Trust (NET), Latoya Harris.

Also attending the ceremony were Principal, St. Elizabeth Basic School, Mary Richards; Teacher, Cleatha Sutherland-Dyer, and their students Karym-Amari Mason and Jaila McKenzie.

The provision of the 1,000 tablets forms part of PACE Canada’s ‘Tablets for Kids’ programme to obtain devices for the early-childhood institutions it sponsors. This undertaking is being executed with the support of the ECC and NET.

PACE Canada, which was founded in 1987, has worked with the Education Ministry and ECC to support more than 300 early-childhood institutions islandwide through the provision of funding and educational opportunities, and delivery of technology.

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