As the pandemic rages on, the Montego Bay Community Home for Girls continues to give thanks for the tablet donation from C&W Business Jamaica.
The shift from in-person to online learning presented significant challenges as the girls did not have access to individual devices, which prevented them from actively participating in their education. In April last year, C&W Business Jamaica donated 13 tablets to support the young ladies as they navigated their online learning. The donation is also part of the Flow Foundation's tablet initiative which is focused on enabling online education through digital inclusion.
Since receiving the donation, the girls have improved communication with their teachers, are completing more of their assignments on time and are more engaged in their education.
"The internet and devices are important tools for our girls to succeed in achieving their educational goals,” said Yvette Mahoney, operations manager at the home which is also known as Melody House. “These devices have been a tremendous help and have made a huge difference. The girls are engaged in their schooling, they can talk to their teachers and they can complete their assignments."
Access to devices to support online learning is a critical need for today's students and is a key mission for the Flow Foundation. A 2020 study by UNICEF and the Caribbean Policy Research Institute highlighted the impact that the pandemic has had on Jamaica's education. The study revealed that 62 per cent of high school children were not engaged in distance learning because of a lack of devices and 18 per cent because of no internet access.
“This reality we faced at the onset of the pandemic was one of the driving forces for us to provide solutions that would help our young people and ensure continuity of their education,” said Kayon Mitchell, Flow's director of communications and stakeholder engagement and executive director of the Flow Foundation.
The devices donated are particularly useful for the girls who are preparing for CSEC exams. *Natalie, an 18-year-old resident of the home, said the tablet has made a difference in her learning experience. " I got the tablet at a really good time as I had to be doing my SBAs and other assignments as I prepare for my CSEC exams,” *Natalie said.
*Susan, another resident of the home, shared, “I was very relieved when I got the tablet because I now have a device and I could participate in my online classes and talk with my teachers. It is really going to be a big help now that I am preparing for my CSEC exams."
The devices have also served dual purposes as they have assisted with the operational duties of the home and have been a medium for the girls to stay connected with what's happening across the world.
“Internet connectivity and the devices to access the internet have become more important now more than ever and I just want to say a big thank you to Flow for helping to ensure that we are developing our young ladies the best way we can,” said Mahoney.
*Names changed to protect identity