Sean Paul Foundation hands out 100 tablets; free data preloaded by Flow

Sean Paul Foundation hands out 100 tablets; free data preloaded by Flow

Sunday, January 24, 2021

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THE Sean Paul Foundation (SPF), in partnership with Flow Foundation, distributed 100 tablets to 14 schools across the island.

The handovers began on Tuesday, January 12 at Drews Avenue Primary and Infant in Kingston and closed out with a stop at Wolmer's Boys' School.

The other schools were: Kensington, Rose Hill and Friendship Brook primary in St Catherine; Woodford Primary and Hope Valley Experimental in St Andrew; Frankfield Primary and Christiana Leased Primary schools in Clarendon; Middle Quarters Primary in St Elizabeth; Brown's Town Primary in St Ann; Clark's Town Primary in Trelawny; Rowlandsfield Primary in St Thomas; and in Portland Fair Prospect Primary.

Whilst most schools received five tablets, Sean Paul gifted his alma mater Wolmer's with 10.

The Samsung Tab A tablets have a Flow SIM and 25 gigabytes of data, preloaded and ready for immediate use. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information also provided a tip sheet to help students and their teachers download and install the approved Google Classroom system for online learning.

“We're happy to partner with the Sean Paul Foundation as these tablets will enable connectivity for more children across Jamaica,” said Stephen Price, chairman of Flow Foundation. “With the support of the Cable and Wireless Charitable Foundation we are focused on driving digital education across Jamaica — ensuring that Jamaicans, especially those in rural and underserved communities, are not left behind and that they, too, have access to the many opportunities available in the online space.”

The Sean Paul Foundation concentrates on projects that directly improve the lives of its recipients, and its first educational donation is the Tablets in Schools Programme.

The tablets were timely and necessary for the students of Drews Avenue Primary as only 40 per cent of them have access to remote learning, according to Acting Principal Fayne Walker.

“That low percentage is compounded, too, by the value that our parents place on education. If they have difficulties and reach out to us, we will find ways to help them through learning kits, the students will drop off the work for teachers to mark. We try to pass on the curriculum that way,” Walker explained.

The pandemic has also affected the attendance of grades five and six students as some classes have 20 per cent daily compliance, with reports that they are on the streets a lot.

“These children were chosen because, while they were not able to be consistent online, they and their parents show interest in learning and have the potential to grow,” said Walker.

The potential was seen also in the five students at Kensington Primary School in Portmore who received the tablets.

They were grade six students Ayana Nevers and Jahiem Richards, grade five student Kyara Johnson, and grade four students Trey Harvey and Rickaylia Hermit.

Present at the handover were Richards, Johnson, Harvey and Hermit, each with a parent.

The students chosen also had certain aptitudes, even temperaments; and had acceptable display of manners and respect.

Ryan Harvey, father of fourth-grader Trey, said he was happy and humbled that his son was chosen among the students to receive a tablet.

“The tablet will positively impact him as he is very enthusiastic about school. Last term, he was not able to log in on time or to participate fully in class, so that will definitely change now,” Harvey said.

The younger Harvey celebrated his 10th birthday on January 4 and felt he was getting a gift.

Kaydiann Guthrie, a mother, said her daughter's lack of a device also altered her work schedule.

“I would have to stay home for her to use my device and when I have a workshop online, she cannot attend classes,” said the family advocate for the non-governmental organisation Jamaica Family Planning Association (FAMPLAN). “But her amazing teacher would always understand and send the work for her to do later.”

The sexual and reproductive health teacher said that the coronavirus had eliminated face-to-face sessions and FAMPLAN, too, have had to rely on remote sessions.

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