Community donations of £125,000 topped up by Government funding have helped secure 400 tablets and 720 laptops for local schoolchildren to plug the gap in provision for underprivileged pupils.
In addition to the charitable donations, the Government allocated £65,000 from the Education IT and Schools Improvement budget to the project to provide digital devices.
The Treasury Minister then agreed to match the funding with an additional £190,000, bringing the total raised to £380,000.
The funding will help provide up to 400 tablets for primary school students, 720 laptops for Year 6 and secondary school students, as well as 50 4G internet connectors to be used with laptops.
Education Department research showed that schools do not currently have enough devices to support pupils with their online learning.
Pictured: The Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Susie Pinel, signing a Ministerial Decision providing an extra £190,000 of match funding from the General Reserve.
Former Education Minister Senator Tracey Vallois revealed in January that she had been trying to ensure the Government bridged the gap, but that all her efforts had been in vain, with a funding bid she had put forward rejected by the Treasury Minister in 2020.
Days before, Every Child Our Future had announced it had secured £200,000 to purchase over 700 computers and smart devices for students from D’Auvergne, Rouge Bouillon, Plat Douet, St. Luke’s, Janvrin, and Les Quennevais Schools.
Speaking about the latest funding boost, Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel said: “This combined funding will ensure that more students have access to the technology they need to complete homework and catch up on their learning.
“I’d like to thank CYPES for undertaking the research, which has demonstrated the benefits the funding will bring to the Island’s students. I’d also especially like to thank the generous donations of Islanders, which will help buy more devices.”
Assistant Minister for Education Deputy Scott Wickenden noted that online learning had been “especially important” over the last year.
“During the pandemic the Government of Jersey, Digital Jersey and all four local telecoms companies teamed up to offer free broadband connection to households with school children and those leaving care,” he added.
“I would like to thank them and everyone behind this new community and Government partnership for their Team Jersey spirit, and for collaborating and working together to ensure that we could supply more tablets and laptops to those students who need them.
“With schools having closed during the ‘Stay at Home’ order, I am committed to making sure that no child is left behind, whether they’re catching up on learning, or learning from home while shielding or self-isolating in the future. These devices will make sure that every child has equal opportunity to access the educational resources we provide.”
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This is important to know the ongoing costs associated with IT as we have seen the government can not control its IT budget to save its' life let alone save taxpayers money.