Digicel Foundation to donate to special needs students

Secretary of the Digicel Foundation Sacha Thompson CEO Digicel Foundation speak during the Connecting You Programme launch at Goodwill Industries, Fitzblackman Drive, Woodbrook. Digicel donated tablets to students so they can continue learning while at home during the covid 19 restrictions. - Ayanna Kinsale
Secretary of the Digicel Foundation Sacha Thompson CEO Digicel Foundation speak during the Connecting You Programme launch at Goodwill Industries, Fitzblackman Drive, Woodbrook. Digicel donated tablets to students so they can continue learning while at home during the covid 19 restrictions. - Ayanna Kinsale

The Digicel Foundation donated 1,095 tablets to 991 students and 104 teachers in 23 schools for special needs children across the country. In addition to that, over 300 students will also benefit from free data for three months from the service provider.

The foundation launched the project, called Connecting You, on Friday at Goodwill Industries, Woodbrook and was attended by teachers and principals of participating schools.

CEO of Goodwill Industries Barbara Alleyne said “We’ve got three levels of clientele at Goodwill. You’ll find some of them are not actually able to do anything on their own without someone actually there to supervise them.” She added there are also students who do not have the technological support at home. Some of them are not equipped with data connectivity and others do not have devices in their homes.

She said the initiative would benefit many students, by enabling them to have access to their teachers to continue their work. “What we would have to do is to get the teachers to spend some time readjusting (to the technology),” she said.

Sacha Thompson, secretary of the Digicel Foundation, said this was not the only partnership between the government and Digicel to assist students during the pandemic. The Ministry of Education partnered with Digicel to provide elearning initiatives which assists students during the stay-at-home regulation. “From this partnership, over 90,000 households have free access to educational videos from the Ministry of Education.”

She said for the most part, many institutions have been able to transition to online education however, “the shift exposed the severity of the country’s digital divide and the need to address digital illiteracy and lack of access in TT.”

She added this was especially true for 36 special needs schools across TT.

Minister of Education Anthony Garcia and Minister of Social Development Camille Robinson-Regis both endorsed the project.

Garcia said “Digital learning has been a challenge for some students and teachers as not all are equipped with devices or connectivity.” He added, the foundation has been able to exemplify the way in which the public sector and corporate TT can collaborate to benefit TT.

Regis said “Schools that benefit from this are really in a better position during this time when elearning is at the pinnacle of (education), especially for students who are unable to go to school at this time.” She added, the Ministry of Social Development was happy to partner with the foundation because the ministry looks after the most vulnerable in society and children who are disabled fall under that unit.

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