TSTT and DIGICEL Collaborate for the Nation's Children's Education
TSTT Corporate Communications
The first of 10,000 electronic tablets were handed over by the two major telecommunications companies in Trinidad and Tobago recently signaling the new era of collaboration required in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. TSTT and Digicel joined forces, creating a historic alliance to source and supply the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) with tablets for those in need, to complete their education and schooling online.
The 800 devices supplied so far are 10-inch smart devices that are also being handed over with screen protectors and protective cases to improve their longevity. The SIM-card enabled tablets will also receive three months of free data access from both telecom providers after which bmobile and Digicel will offer heavily subsidized packages. This will allow students and their families to continue with the connectivity needed for online classes at the Primary and Secondary school levels.
Mr. Ian Galt, General Manager Enterprise Services at TSTT detailed the initiative further, “TSTT and Digicel have come together to supply TATT with 5000 tablets each at a particular and aggressive price point negotiated on their behalf, from a world-class manufacturer. Given the surge in demand for these devices, we are happy that our teams were able to execute on this to do our part so that no child would be left behind, not in the area of education and technology, as we adjust to the realities of the pandemic.” Mr. Galt also noted that this cost savings was extended for hundreds of tablets acquired by the local business community, seeking to also help equip our nation’s students. He reinforced that there is a strict process in place to ensure the devices are handed over to those who need them most. “The Telecommunications Authority and our companies will work with the Ministry of Education to supply these tablets after a means assessment is done,” Mr. Galt advised.
At the official handover, Chairman of TATT, Mr. Gilbert Peterson commented that this was a significant endeavour accomplished by the joint effort of both telecom giants in a short space of time. “Today, while we only have 800 devices on hand, the remaining 9200 devices will be here by the end of this month. This was only possible because both TSTT and Digicel responded to our call for assistance.” The tone of the event and handover continued in the sentiment of close collaboration as Mr. Abraham Smith, newly-installed CEO of Digicel also noted, “When we combine our efforts, we can be better together.” Minister of Education, Dr., the Honourable, Nyan Gadsby- Dolly, also highlighted the accomplishment of the joint effort stating, “We are competing with a massive global demand so, to receive our just dues in T&T, you had to be persistent, resilient and committed to the task which is what brings us here today.” Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation, Senator the Honourable Hassel Bacchus, also expressed the view that without efforts like this, “we would be depriving a portion of our students of the value of education.”
Mr Galt also pointed out that the 10,000-device contribution to our country’s education base is a significant one by any measure – more so for a Caribbean island. “We are putting a huge dent in this problem, and it is a fantastic step. It is not a silver bullet and not meant to be one, but it puts us on the right road as a country. It will serve every child and family who now possess the means to continue with schooling as we weather the storm of this global pandemic.” The purchase by both telecommunications providers has also saved the State “millions of dollars” according to Mr. Galt, as both companies leveraged their business connections and purchasing power to source the best quality smart tablets at the best possible prices. In the spirit of collaboration, he noted that, “We have put aside competition and genuinely come together to work on this for the common cause of T&T’s children. And we have done so seamlessly and successfully, through the personal relationships shared by the two companies and for the love of this country.”