Computer assistance program extended for students
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information says it will reopen applications for the Own Your Own Device (OYOD) Programme on January 18.
Under the Programme, the Government will provide assistance for the purchase of tablet or laptop computers for students who are in need but are not on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
Parents or guardians will receive an electronic voucher (eVoucher) valued at $20,000 to purchase a device from an approved vendor.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on January 12, Education Minister, Fayval Williams, informed that at the close of the initial application period on December 31, 2020, a total of 17,773 applications were submitted to the electronic system.
“This represents 49 per cent of the target. Persons will soon begin to get the eVouchers through e-mail and SMS telling them of the $20,000 and giving instructions as to how to redeem those, and with the names of the approved vendors who have agreed to the minimum specifications and eligibility requirements. There are 13 approved vendors spanning 101 locations across the island,” she said.
Mrs Williams told the Lower House that during the previous application period, some persons were unable to apply because of issues with Student Registration Numbers (SRNs) or Taxpayer Registration Numbers (TRNs).
“We understand the issues that many persons encountered with their TRN and Student Registration Number. All students who are enrolled in the education sector have an SRN, which is given in grade one or if you entered school in a different grade, and it remains with the students throughout their school life until they graduate from high school,” she said.
The Minister stated that pursuant to the Programme’s announcement, 21,120 persons called or emailed the Ministry requesting the SRN for their children.
She noted that those persons were either told what their child’s SRN is or if the youngster was, for some reason, not registered, then the exercise would be completed.
Regarding the issues with TRNs, Mrs. Williams informed that the Ministry wrote Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) about the matter.
“The TAJ has committed to working with the Ministry to resolve those situations in which either the name, date of birth or the TRN is not matching. The Ministry has begun to pull together the name, date of birth and TRN for those persons who indicated to the Ministry that they have a problem,” she stated.
“While this is happening, the distribution of eVouchers will commence in January for those person deemed eligible as of December 31, 2020,” she added.
For assistance, persons can call the hotline at 888-EDUCATE (888-338-2283) or 888-ASCHTIME (888-724-8463) if they encountered these issues relating to the Programme.
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