A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of Education and the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) for the supply of 10,100 ICT-enabled devices and sim cards with data plans valued TTD $15,144,975.
The signing ceremony took place at TATT on Tuesday.
The devices are to be delivered to school children through the Ministry of Education, and the MoU was signed by Education Minister Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and Chairman of the Board at TATT, Gilbert Peterson S.C.,
Gadsby-Dolly emphasised that home-based learning has been a challenge for some children and thanked TATT for responding to the needs of these children, even before a formal call was made for assistance by corporate Trinidad and Tobago.
Senator Hassel Bacchus, Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation, thanked TATT for the provision of the devices.
He also thanked the company for the but release of additional spectrum that allowed internet service providers the capacity to cater for the 30 to 40 percent increase in demand at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
The cost of the equipment and internet access will be covered by TATT through its Universal Service Fund (USF).
The USF is prescribed in the Telecommunications Act Chap 47:31 and is funded from a combination of TATT revenues and contributions from providers of public telecommunications services in Trinidad and Tobago who in turn provide the services.
The responsibility of the USF is to facilitate connectivity to unserved and underserved communities in the country as well as provide connectivity and affordable access to schools, libraries, public health institutions, and other public institutions. This includes support for persons with disabilities.
The objectives of this initiative with the Ministry of Education are to facilitate access and internet connectivity to e-learning platforms and facilitate and foster online participation on e-learning platforms and resources by underserved students.
Digicel (Trinidad &Tobago) Limited and Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago Limited are responsible for procuring the devices and providing internet services.
Also present at the signing were the Minister in the Ministry of Education Lisa Morris-Julian; Lenore Baptiste-Simmons, Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Education; Claudelle McKellar, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation and Mrs Cynthia Reddock-Downes, TATT’s Chief