One thousand early childhood institutions and primary schools across the island will receive Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) through the Digicel Foundation’s Project 1000. The announcement was made on April 24 at a press briefing at Digicel’s global headquarters in Downtown Kingston.
Project 1000 is in keeping with the Foundation’s aim to meet the United Nation’s Millennium development goal of achieving 100% literacy by 2015.
“Since 2004 the Digicel Foundation has contributed significantly to education, investing over JM$1 billion towards improving infrastructure, hurricane repairs, infrastructure for sporting development and improvement in literacy at the primary school level,” stated Samantha Chantrelle, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation. “With this level of investment, we have impacted approximately 373 schools across the island. The Digicel Foundation would like to increase this number from 373 to 1000; this is how we came up with Project 1000.”
Over the course of three years, over US$375,000 will be invested in Project 1000 to provide a wide variety of ICTs to 1000 schools in Jamaica. As part of the application process, schools will be required to state the amount of computers, tablets, notebooks and equipment that they have sourced (through their past student associations, fundraising events and the private sector) with a request to match it. The Digicel Foundation will then match the amount requested up to two computers, tablets or notebooks/applicable ICTs.
During the press briefing, a three year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Digicel Foundation and the Camara Jamaica Foundation as much of the ICTs for Project 1000 will be provided by Camara. This dynamic partnership encourages the exploration of technology to access information and knowledge. The equipment provided will be used to provide additional learning resources to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom, specifically the teaching of phonics and reading. Through a joint effort, both foundations have donated over 750 computers islandwide during the past two years. The computers were all preloaded with educational software, and teachers were also trained by Camara to effectively use these resources in the classroom.
“Project 1000 is the most impacting, far-reaching, and unprecedented private educational initiative to be implemented in Jamaica to date,” remarked CEO of the Camara Jamaica Foundation Karl Gaynor. “The key objectives of this project will be to provide computers to 1,000 schools (this amounts to about 80% of schools across Jamaica). Approximately 2,000 computers will be installed and approximately 1,000 teachers will be trained. It is a most ambitious effort, however, it is these bold, unconventional and innovative initiatives that characterises the Digicel and Camara Foundations and will assist in providing the impetus for growth and development in education and technology.”