Saturday 28 March, 2020

A'mari calls for free internet for primary school kids stuck at home

A'mari DJ Mona Lisa

A'mari DJ Mona Lisa

Social media blogger A'mari DJ Mona Lisa is calling on local Internet service providers to provide children who are home for the next two weeks with free internet so that learning can continue in homes.

"As our country continues to manage the COVID-19 emergency, Jamaicans need to  stay connected – to their families, their workplaces, their schools, and the latest information about the virus – through the Internet. And since there are  many households with students home because schools and colleges have temporarily closed, there needs to be a switch to online classes because the learning must continue, Jamaican students should not be allowed to fall behind," A'mari, whose real name is Veneice Fung-Chung, said.

"This is a difficult time, thousands of poor Jamaicans  don’t have Internet service at home, so Internet connectivity becomes even more important at this time and our service providers should be willing to respond in this national emergency."

She has pledged to provide phone cards to young students which will allow them to purchase data to get online access and started a drive among members of the Jamaican diaspora to purchase a batch of phone cards which she will give away during her daily podcasts. These cards will be given to parents of primary school age children who are the most needy.

"PEP has been postponed but this is not a holiday, we need to make a commitment to the learning of our children and be serious about it. We have to step up and help each other," she said.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information will be providing nutritional support through Nutrition Products Limited to students on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) for the period that they will be out of school over the next two weeks.

As part of its Education in Emergencies response plans, the Ministry, in collaboration with school leaders, teachers and educational partners, has already provided significant support to enable continued teaching and learning while students are not in school. This support includes the activation of online, virtual, computer-based teaching and learning augmented by traditional radio and TV media.  

The Ministry is also aware that the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable is paramount to their educational success, especially in this period of disruption. As such, under the food support plan, Nutrition Products Limited will prepare snacks comprising baked products, fruit juices, milk and water for students on PATH at the primary and secondary levels. A limited number has been prepared for today, Monday, March 16, 2020 while the distribution points are finalized. 

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