Saturday 30 May, 2020

VM Foundation helps to provide tablets for disadvantaged students

Teasha Weller (left) receives a tablet for her son Temel Jones who goes to Best Care Special  Education. The Tablet was among those sponsored by Victoria Mutual Foundation.

Teasha Weller (left) receives a tablet for her son Temel Jones who goes to Best Care Special Education. The Tablet was among those sponsored by Victoria Mutual Foundation.

The VM Foundation, through GeoTechVision’s EduTechAid Programme, moved last month to help close the digital divide in this time when teaching has largely shifted online, putting students without computers or tablets at a serious disadvantage.

The foundation donated US$4,200 ($598,332) towards the purchase of tablets for students who are either living with a disability, reside in an inner-city community, or are living in a children’s home.

Guided by requests made to the EduTechAid Programme, tablets were distributed to children in need at the Adonijah Group of Schools, Best Care Special Education, Dunrobin Christian Academy, St Judes Primary, St Patrick’s Primary, St Francis Primary, Windward Road Primary and Duhaney Park Primary schools.

Since the closure of schools in March, as part of measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19, there have been reports about challenges being faced by some students, particularly related to access to digital tools needed to participate in online classes.

“We have to remember and care for the most vulnerable among us. We can’t allow them to be left out or left behind,” said Naketa West, Manager of the VM Foundation.

“This programme is helping to level the playing field so that everyone can continue to have equal access to education.”

Valrie Grant, Managing Director of GeoTechVision said: “COVID-19 has revealed the fragility of confining learning within the precincts of the four walls of a physical classroom, and has triggered a new normal of agile, virtual learning as the way forward. The challenge, however, is that many will not be able to capitalise on any opportunities for virtual learning as they do not have access to a mobile device.”

She added: “We are grateful that the VM group understands that an appropriate digital device is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a basic necessity of learning for every Jamaican child and has joined our effort to get tablets in the hands of those that need it most.”

EduTechAid provides support to Jamaican students and families in transitioning to online learning. The VM Foundation has also donated $1 Million to the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and Council of Voluntary Social Services COVID-19 Jamaica Response Fund.

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