In one of the largest collaborations of its kind in Cayman, local not-for-profit organisation, Literacy Is For Everyone (LIFE), teamed up with The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture & Lands (Ministry of Education), the Department of Education Services (DES), a wealth of corporate partners, and volunteers to launch the Education for Everyone project, providing laptops and internet access to Cayman’s public school students.
With the coronavirus pandemic exposing technological deficits, both locally and globally, businessman, Taylor Foster, lead the charge for LIFE, securing funding to support an educational shift to a new digital world. “It is my hope that with the completion of this LIFE project, we will help the next generation of Cayman’s youth by giving them access to the tools that they need to succeed in these challenging and uncertain times.”
In response to the initial lockdown of all educational institutes across the Cayman Islands and the transition to online distance learning, Education for Everyone facilitated seamless technological access both at home and school for students in need.
With a total of 1,600 laptops secured and a further 1,250 in the pipeline, thanks to the collaboration of Government agencies and local corporate partners, the process of set-up and distribution is now underway.
Provided generously by SALT Technology Group, set-up includes the configuration, imaging, and updating of all laptops to include essential protective software for students with the offer of additional training and IT support, if required. Laptops will be owned by the Ministry of Education, but managed by schools who retain the devices, allowing for the project’s longevity.
“Never before have we witnessed educational disruption on such a scale,” said Anthony Cowell, LIFE Board Member and Partner at KPMG in the Cayman Islands. “At a time when the entire student population of our islands is affected by COVID-19, LIFE has launched a ‘call to action’ to bridge the digital divide and support schools in scaling up their distance learning practices.”
Commenting on the groundbreaking initiative, Honourable Minister for Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture & Lands, Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, thanked LIFE and its private sector partners, commenting, “This project underscores our shared commitment in the development of the children of this nation. The Ministry of Education welcomes continued partnerships as we work to educate our future leaders.”
Juliet Austin, LIFE Executive Director, said, “Education for Everyone is, without doubt, a game-changer and powerful testament to the ongoing commitment of the Cayman community to the education of our young people in this new digital age. We applaud all involved for answering the call to action so selflessly.
The coming together of public and private entities in the provision of these state-of-the-art devices ensures uninterrupted access to online education and continues to foster a culture of lifelong learning that speaks to the heart of LIFE’s Mission. I have no doubt that the repercussions of this project will reap rewards long into the future, not only for students, but for our people, our economy and our country.”
Founding sponsors of the Education for Everyone initiative include: the Foster Group, KPMG, the R3 Cayman Foundation, Cayman National Bank, PwC, an anonymous donor, and Rotary Grand Cayman Sunrise. Additional sponsors were Digicel, Cayman Airways, Logic and Flow.