Cornerstone Jamaica to install Internet in 11 Westmoreland schoolsThursday, October 01, 2020
BY ROSALEE WOOD
In response to the COVID- 19 pandemic, Cornerstone Jamaica has partnered with Digicel Jamaica and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, to provide Internet access for 11 Westmoreland-based primary schools.
The project, aimed at encouraging Internet-facilitated learning in and outside the classroom, is being undertaken on a phased basis.
Phase 1, which is already underway, will ensure each school has Internet coverage that will provide a base for teachers to broadcast when conducting online teaching. Phase 2 will later focus on improving Internet access in homes of students to facilitate homework and class work assignments.
With the closure of schools caused by the pandemic, schools are now required to move to remote learning.
As a result, concerns were raised about the lack of Internet access in many areas of the parish.
In light of this, plans were put in place to have Internet access in the partner schools of Cornerstone Jamaica, in time for the new academic year, which begins on October 5.
Executive director of Cornerstone Jamaica, Krystal Paige Robertson-Hyman, told the Jamaica Observer West that, “With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic we had to stop facilitating our flagship programme 'See Better. Learn Better.' and it had us thinking how are we going to adapt, how are we going to change, how are we going to provide support to our partner school. We decided to have a town hall meeting with all the stakeholders and present were representatives from other non-profit organisations, the US Embassy and other stakeholders. From this meeting, the two biggest concerns were food security and internet in schools,” she explained.
“Because so many other organisations were tackling food security, we decided to go with Internet in schools. As with our 'See Better. Learn Better' programme, where we tackle disparities in education which affected students who were visually impaired by fitting them with glasses, all in the same way with Internet, if a child does not have access to Internet, but is forced to homeschool then they are impaired.”
Funding for the programme was secured from private donors from the United States of America and a grant from the Anthony R Abraham Foundation in Miami.
Based in Westmoreland, Cornerstone Jamaica, whose projects are geared towards improving health and education in Jamaican communities, is better known for their in-school vision care clinic programme, 'See Better. Learn Better.'
This programme was launched with the focus of fitting students in need with tested glasses. But due to the pandemic, Cornerstone Jamaica has seen the need to shift focus to a programme that is more needed at this time.
Currently Internet has been installed at five schools in the parish, including Revival All- Age, Little Bay All- Age, Mount Airy Primary and St Paul's Primary.
By Monday, all 11 partner schools should have Internet installed by Digicel Jamaica.