Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gasby-Dolly and Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, TATT Chairman Gilbert Peterson SC display a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding MOU after the official singing yesterday at TATT Offices in Barataria.

The donation of 10,000 devices to school children by the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT) will not only allow those children access to online learning but will change their lives. That’s according to Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, who was speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between her ministry and TATT in Barataria yesterday.

According to the agreement, TSTT and Digicel Trinidad and Tobago will procure and provide 10,000 ICT-enabled tablets, 10,000 SIM cards and three months internet packages for 10,000 students in need.

TATT will fund the project from its Universal Service Fund at an estimated cost of $15, 144, 975 TT.

The devices will be distributed by the Education Ministry to needy students.

Also present at the signing ceremony was Minister in the Ministry of Education, Lisa Morris-Julien and Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation, Hassell Bacchus.

TATT was represented by chairman Gilbert Peterson and chief executive officer Cynthia Reddock Downes.

Minister Gadsby-Dolly said TATT committed to assisting needy students even before a call was put out to corporate T&T to donate devices to approximately 65,000 students who did not have access to online learning.

She said home-based learning has presented many problems for both educators and students.

“Every parent, myself and Minister Morris-Julien included, every teacher, every child can tell you it has been a challenge, getting used to the system, getting used to learning where you used to relax, that has been something all of us had to learn on the trot.”

She said the COVID-19 pandemic shook the foundation of education by causing face-to-face classes to be suspended.

“At the ministry, it has also been a challenge because we are charged with the mandate to ensure that learning takes place so when the fundamental situation that children cannot go to school is presented to a ministry of education and it is echoed across the world, it is something that shakes the very foundation of what you do.”

Saying the switch to online has been a steep learning curve, Gadsby-Dolly commended TATT for their donation. She said the devices will change the lives of the children who receive them.

“I will tell you that there are many families where there is one device being shared by multiple children. So this is not just 10,000, this is 10,000 multiplied by all the lives that will be touched by these devices entering a home.”