Patron of the Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence, His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen, yesterday handed over 50 tablets to students of the Fruitful Vale Primary School in Portland. This was done in partnership with the Member of Parliament for Western Portland, the Honourable Daryl Vaz, the FLOW Foundation and past students of the school.
With the demands of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the tablets were donated at an opportune time to aid in facilitating online school for students without devices. In addition, FLOW Foundation has provided a month of data plan for the students. The donation forms part of The Governor-General’s ‘I Believe’ Initiativetechnology drive, which has so far donated almost 200 tablets.
His Excellency was pleased to make the donation to his past school in the community where he was raised. He expressed, “Our nation’s children are our greatest investment. They are undeniably the future of this country, and we each have a role to play in maximizing their potential.”
Councillor Stephen Williams, on behalf of Minister Daryl Vaz, said, “The negative effects of the global pandemic on our children’s ability to obtain their education the traditional way has made it more important for bridging the telecommunications divide at all levels; and more so critical for our students.” Councillor Williams further noted that the devices will enrich the students’ lives and learning experiences.
The lives of many have changed within the last two years. Education officer for Region Two, Ms. Sharon McKenzie, highlighted that globally, over 1.5 billion students have been removed from physical classrooms due to the pandemic. Students from the Fruitful Vale Primary School are a part of this number.
Making a Difference
“Giving is not just about making a donation; it’s about making a difference.The difference was made today by the ‘I Believe’ Initiative through the Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence in its donation of the tablets to the students in need,” Ms. McKenzie commented.
The Governor-General’s ‘I Believe’ Initiative is built on the pillars of Family, Youth and Education. The donation encompasses two of those three pillars; by mobilising resources to engage the youth of Fruitful Vale Primary in their education.
FLOW Foundation’s Executive Director Kayon Mitchell said that the team is proud to partner with the ‘I Believe’ Initiative. “The Foundation extensively supports students through connectivity and other donations to alleviate the effects of the Pandemic on the education experience. The donation was a reflection of the Initiative’s mantra, “Using what’s right with Jamaica to fix what’s wrong with Jamaica,” she stated.
Mitchell also noted that education is the foundation on which a nation will grow and develop. “Technology is the conduit; and our children are the glue to hold it all together – the driving force for a better tomorrow. It is imperative that students are given the tools today so that they can effectively shape tomorrow,” Mitchell stated.
Acting Principal Sandra Henry, in her remarks, stated that the gesture is well appreciated and necessary. She said, “It is an investment in the future of Jamaica which will provide these students with the requisite tools to navigate the online teaching and learning environment.” Past students were grateful and conveyed their appreciation through June Isaacs, the past student who orchestrated the donation.