Jamaican PM commends principal using bike taxis to deliver schoolwork

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A report from The Stabroek News.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, through his Positive Jamaica Foundation, has donated $100,000 to the Little Bay Primary and Infant School in Westmoreland to support the institution’s initiative in providing worksheets to students, who do not have internet access.

Under the initiative, spearheaded by Principal of the institution, Keron King, assignments are delivered weekly to the students, a number of whom live in remote areas.

The objective is to ensure that the students can continue learning while schools are closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. King, who spoke with the media after being presented with the cheque by representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday, said that the school is “extremely appreciative” of the support from Mr. Holness.

“What we want to do is look at purchasing a printer that can help offset some of the costs,” he said.

Currently, the worksheets are produced and printed over 70 kilometres away at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Region Four office in Montego Bay, St. James and the school pays for the delivery.

Mr. King added that close to 200 students benefit from the initiative. “What we do is organise a team to put the papers together and determine the drop off and pick up points,” he noted.

“I then get on a taxi motorbike and go to the areas. Most times, these are difficult areas to access by other means of transportation. These are children without internet connection and so would not be able to otherwise access the information,” he said.

Mr. King returns to the students’ homes within a week to pick up the completed assignments and drop off another set of worksheets.

“The teachers and other stakeholders will call and communicate with the students to ensure that they understand what they are doing,” he continued.

The Principal, who had spoken to the Prime Minister via Zoom before the handing over of the cheque, said Mr. Holness commended the school’s “sterling leadership” as well as its work in the community.

Mr. King said he strongly supports the Government’s philosophy that ‘no child should be left behind,’ particularly at this time when the country has to make adjustments in education delivery due to COVID-19.

“I want to ensure that there is equity in the system and that all our children are accounted for and most importantly, we do not want any of our children to regress. When school reopens, all of us should be on board and we should be able to continue from where we left off,” he noted.

The Principal said that “in going above and beyond to deliver the assignments” he hopes that students will appreciate school more and be motivated to always go the extra mile” in their endeavours.

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