Huawei Donates 500 Tablets to Jamaican Education Sector

PHOTO: DONALD DE LA HAYE/JIS Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams (left), accepts a tablet from Regional Executive of Huawei Technologies, Bo Zhou, during a ceremony for the handover of 500 devices on Thursday (December 7) at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle location in Kingston. The donation is in support of the Ministry's ‘One Laptop or Tablet Per Child’ initiative.

While the Chinese and United States Ambassadors to Jamaica have been engaged in a war of words over 5G technology, it has not discouraged one major Chinese company from assisting Jamaican students.

The global tech company, Huawei recently made a donation of 500 tablets to Jamaica. The donation is in support of the Ministry of Education’s ‘One Laptop or Tablet Per Child’ initiative.

Portfolio Minister, Fayval Williams, in her remarks at the handover ceremony held on Thursday (December 7) at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle location in Kingston, thanked the company for its continued support and urged the participation of other entities in the initiative.

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“We are pleased with the many companies that have come on board. Huawei has heard the call and has stepped forward to help our children at this point in time when all are feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic globally,” she said.

“I have given my commitment to the Jamaican students that I will not relent until all of them have a device in their hands and are able to connect regardless of whether or not we return to full face-to-face learning,” she added, noting the Ministry’s mandate to strengthen the ICT infrastructure and to enrich the learning experience for students.

China’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Tian Qi, who participated in the ceremony remotely, reiterated the important friendship between the two countries.

“China stands ready to continue to do work with Jamaica to promote exchanges and cooperation in science, technology, education, human resources and information,” he noted.

To date, the Chinese company has donated a total of 700 tablets to the Jamaican education sector. This includes 200 devices to the University of Technology (UTech) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona last year.

Since 2020, Chinese and US diplomats have been engaged in a war of words over Jamaica’s use of 5G technology.

In December, the outgoing US ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia urged the Andrew Holness-led administration to steer clear of Chinese 5G telecommunications technology. Tapia alleged that the Chinese government is using a local network to listen in on his telephone conversations, adding that it also threatened long-guarded national intelligence reciprocity between the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and its US counterparts.

Xia Shaowu, the Head of the Jamaican Chinese Embassy’s political section, fired back by saying that, “A lie, even if repeated a thousand times, will not become the truth. Without any evidence, Mr Tapia has been trying to pin the blame on and throw mud at China … . Such practice is neither professional nor responsible and even ill-intended.”

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