36,000 needy students to get $20,000 voucher towards laptop/tablet
The Government has moved to provide some 36,000 needy Jamaican students with a $20,000 subsidy in the form of an e-voucher towards the purchase of an electronic device, that will allow them to continue their education online.
The monetary value is in the region of $720 million.
This is being done under the so-called ‘Own Your Own Device Incentive Programme’, and beneficiaries in primary and secondary schools across the island are those who are not part of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH). Thousands of students under the PATH, a welfare programme, are already being provided with an electronic device to ensure they do not fall behind in their lessons due to the closure of schools, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams, provided an outline of the programme on Tuesday as she addressed the House of Representatives.
“A selection mechanism has been proposed to make the determination regarding those students who need the device.
“The Own Your Own Device Programme is in keeping with the ministry’s ‘Bring Your Own Device policy which outlines the specifications for laptops or tablets to be purchased,” Williams stated.
The criteria for selection are as follows:
- Parents and guardians can apply through an established website powered by eGov Jamaica.
- Applications can also be done via a manually, numbered application form. These forms are available from Members of Parliament or the regional offices of the Ministry of Education.
- Parents/guardians can log on to the website oyod.educate.gov.jm to submit an application.
- The application period remains open from November 17 to December 4.
- Distribution of tablets will begin on November 17.
- Each Member of Parliament will be given 250 manual application forms for distribution. This also commences on November 17.
- Application forms are also available at the regional offices of the Ministry of Education.
- The information via the website and the manually numbered application form will be verified to ensure the integrity of the application process and that there is no duplication of applications or devices to anyone student, Williams explained.
The minister said students’ information will be verified with the National Student Registration System and parents and guardians will be verified by way of Tax Administration Jamaica’s database.
Manual application can be filed as well through the Office of the Member of Parliament.
Following verification of information, a reference number will be sent via the SMS and email, utilising the information that was provided on the application form. This will trigger an e-voucher that will be accepted by pre-approved vendors.
“Of note is that the value of the e-voucher is $20,000. Parents or guardians will be responsible for the difference in the cost of the laptop or tablet,” Williams said while pointing out that the e-voucher will remain valid for six months.
Persons with questions about the programme can call 888OYODNOW (888-6963669) weekdays between 9am and 4pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org.