Access to data, internet and smart devices is a basic human right, says Terrelonge

Minister of State Alando Terrelonge

KINGSTON, Jamaica – “Access to data, internet services and smart devices must be treated as a basic human right for every Jamaican home,” said St Catherine East Central MP Alando Terrelonge.

Terrelonge, who is also Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, made his position known during his recent contribution to the debate on the state of the constituency in the House of Representatives.

He said such a human right should be “no different from the right to water as a means of survival in the age of the 4th industrial revolution, the age of technology”.

During his presentation under the theme “Realizing the Hope of Prosperity through Education”, Terrelonge said, “We recognize in the Central East that we have a responsibility to increase digital literacy”.

To that end, he said 200 students had received smart devices which he described as a “big win for us in the mid-east”.

“And we already plan to award another 150 students more devices. This is important because since the onset of COVID-19, the way we educate, as well as the way we provide quality education to our young kings and queens, has changed. COVID has exposed many shortcomings in our education system, the main one being the imbalance between haves and have-nots,” Terrelonge added.

He commended the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Technology through his agency, the Universal Service Fund “for recognizing this right for all Jamaicans”. The Minister of State noted that under the Ministry of Education’s Own Your Own Device initiative, 40,000 students across Jamaica will have access to smart devices, while under the Wi-Fi program of the Ministry of Technology, 189 communities will benefit from free Wi-Fi service.

“So not only are we deploying the smart devices and putting technology and the world in the hands of our young kings and queens, as a responsible government ready for a prosperous future, preparing our young kings and queens to be the leaders of tomorrow, we give them access to data and the internet so that they, their families and their communities can connect their devices in their communities,” said Terrelonge.

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