San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello, right and Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce president Kiran Singh with students Highlee Hart and Zaria Springle during the tablet distribution to students of the San Fernando area on Tuesday.

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Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly has lauded corporate T&T for pledging over $50 million worth of devices to deserving pupils this year.

Over 65,000 children were unable to access online learning but after making calls for companies to adopt a school last September, the Minister said more than 60 donors came forward.

A total of 21,810 devices were pledged out of which 10,018 devices were delivered.

In an exclusive interview with Guardian Media, Gadbsy-Dolly said, “ I feel deeply grateful that corporate T&T has pledged and is delivering over $50 million worth of devices to our children.”

She added, “ More companies are coming forward every day, and we know that it will go a long way to bring families into the online learning environment.”

She added, “We are assessing the need because outside of Adopt-a-School, other donations and purchases are being made.”

Saying the Ministry did another survey in late September 2020 to determine how many more devices were needed. However, she explained, “The numbers returned at 65,000, which may well have been inflated due to the prospect of donations in the air.”

The Minister said the government has begun the procurement process for 20,000 laptops.

“We have developed the means test which will be used to assess applications for devices. Based on the first installation of 20,000 devices from the government, and the 21,000 plus which is being donated through Adopt-a-School as well as the private purchases of parents and donors, we should be well able to satisfy the need,” she explained.

The Minister said another survey will be done in January to see how many more devices were needed.

On Tuesday, the Greater San Fernando Chamber of Industry and Commerce president Kiran Singh donated 100 devices to deserving children. He said it was important for corporate T&T to get on board with the Minister’s call for all students to be fully equipped for school.

Singh said T&T was already facing the pressures of an economic meltdown, noting that everyone has to work harder at becoming more productive.

Senior Counsel Ernest Koylass also adopted the St Paul’s Anglican School and donated devices to students. The principal Keith Sankar said 65 per cent of the school came from impoverished communities.