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STUDENTS at the Tivoli Gardens High School in West Kingston now have access to interactive learning equipment intended to stimulate greater interest in education, while enhancing the numeracy and literacy programmes at the institution.

The equipment, which are housed in the school's library, include computers, document and digital cameras, and a digital whiteboard, among others. They were donated by Petrojam Limited at a cost of approximately $900,000.

Speaking at the official handing over ceremony at the school's premises on Wednesday, Andrea Bent, Petrojam's human resource manager, said investments in education are critical components to nation building and that interactive learning coupled with computer literacy are key areas in the process.

"We were willing to jump in... to provide this type of learning environment for the young people. We all know that young people are technology driven and we all know that for our country to compete in today's world, we have to be technology driven. So computer literacy is no longer a luxury, it is a must," she said.

In her remarks, Jennifer Walker, chair of the Community Outreach Committee at Petrojam, said the donation forms part of the company's mission of assisting those in need through its outreach programmes.

She noted that it was deemed best that attention be given to the ongoing literacy and numeracy programmes at the school, based on discussions with the principal.

"They realised that they needed more technology that would stimulate the learning environment for the children. Based on the request that was made, we did not hesitate to provide some of the technological needs...These (equipment) will really assist Tivoli High School and we are looking to forge a stronger partnership (with the school)...so the children will benefit in the end," she said.

In expressing appreciation, Principal Wesna Nolan commended Petrojam for investing in education. "I am happy that corporate Jamaica has come on board to assist us in the business of education. Education is the people's business, it is everybody's business and we are indeed happy," she said.

Librarian at the school, Josephine Crawford, said the students and teachers were "excited" about using the equipment.

"Our students are excited because of the graphics and the sounds. Before we were using multimedia projector and that was working too but they are more excited about using the smart board. They also have the opportunity to interact," she said.

Wesna Nolan (forefront left), principal of Tivoli Gardens High School; Andrea Bent (forefront right), human resource manager at Petrojam Limited, cut the ribbon symbolising the official handing over of learning equipment to the Tivoli Gardens High School. Others sharing in the moment in background are (from left) students Netanya McKoy, and Shamar Darlington, as well as Alton Bromwell, a member of the Petrojam’s Community Outreach Committee.

Jahssett Malcolm of Illuminat Jamaica shows off the features of the digital whiteboard during the official handing-over ceremony at Tivoli Gardens High School in Kingston on Wednesday. The digital whiteboard, along with other learning equipment, were donated to the institution by Petrojam Limited. (Photos: Bryan Cummings)

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