13 Computers for 1100 Students? CEF Primary School Tour shows the Learning Center is Critical for Students' Progress
In May 2012, as part of CEF's “Child’s Month” initiative, Caribbean Education Foundation’s representatives traveled to Jamaica and conducted a tour of 10 Primary Schools in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas. We met with school leaders including Principals, Teachers and Counselors; visited classrooms and resource areas such as Libraries and Computer Labs. Sadly, most primary schools have minimal libraries or resources, if such a room existed. Furthermore, computer areas were virtually nonexistent. For the few schools with computer labs, the number of computers were minimal, others were non-working and/or outdated. For example, at Alpha Primary School, its one tiny computer lab contains 13 computers for 1,100 students! We saw thousands of children who have no access or minimal access to technology. Unfortunately, when these students graduate from Primary School and enter to High School, the access to computers will not be much greater. As a result, they will be severely lacking in techological abilities, which cripples their chances to compete on a global level.
The Caribbean Education Foundation, Inc. (CEF) is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit organization based in the United States. CEF’s mission is to provide poor children with meaningful access to education in Jamaica, the Caribbean and developing world. The current mission country is Jamaica. Children cannot attend school if they are unable to pay school fees and expenses. Currently, CEF awards academic scholarships to poor students so they are able to attend high schools. The CEF “Paul Bogle Scholarships” pays students’ school fees, textbooks, school supplies, uniforms, lunch and transportation.
The goals of CEF are three-fold:
Caribbean Education Foundation is addressing two goals listed above by providing academic scholarships to individual students. The ultimate goal of CEF is to produce and increase the number and caliber of the region’s intellectual capital to compete on a global scale. Intellectual capital will translate into the social and economic progress in the region.
Hundreds of thousands of children in Jamaica do not have access to technology and possess low literacy skills. Due to the sheer number of children in financial need, addressing all CEF’s goals is a severe challenge. In particular, the third goal of computer technological skills and literacy needs a path forward.
As a result of extreme poverty, thousands of Jamaican students, including many CEF Scholarship recipients, are unable to conduct research at home for homework, because they lack computers, regular electricity and/or internet access in their homes. And, the few children with computers are unable to print their papers and projects at home due to a lack of printers.
Many children in the inner-city communities of Kingston, Jamaica have limited opportunities to develop the basic skills necessary to improve their own lives.
According to the latest Jamaica Education Report:
HIGH SCHOOL (CRITICAL PROBLEM): children 11 years old to 17 years old
PRIMARY SCHOOL: children 6 years old to 11 years old
THE LEARNING CENTER PROVIDES A SOLUTION
This CEF Learning Center will address the educational needs of thousands of children in Kingston, Jamaica and provide them with the opportunity to excel in school, succeed in the community and thrive in the global world. The Center will serve the entire student population who are in financial need, not only CEF scholarship recipients. As a result, CEF will be able to help many more children achieve literacy, technological skills and mastery in school.
Thousands of children will benefit from having a free Learning, Literacy, Technology and Resource Center. This facility will provide free access to computers, reliable internet access, electricity and a library as well as reliable space to conduct ongoing literacy education and tutoring.
The Learning Center will be equipped with computers and offer free computer training to children as well as provide a well-lit space for homework, reading and specialized tutoring in subject areas that need work such as Literacy, Mathematics and Science. A small library at the center will serve as a resource and will be equipped with Student Study Guides, Southwestern Student Handbooks, textbooks, reading books, foreign language books, newspapers and global periodicals such as the Economist, National Geographic and Financial Times.
LONG TERM IMPACT: GLOBAL PROGRESS
This CEF Learning Center will enable children to thrive in school, Jamaica and in a global world. Through students’ excelling in their education, the communities of Kingston can be transformed, because as students learn new technology and information, they will be able to use them to improve conditions in the community and Jamaica. The ultimate goal of CEF is to produce and increase the number and caliber of the region’s intellectual capital to compete on a global scale. Intellectual capital will translate into the social and economic progress in the region.
According to Nikiki Bogle, Esq., the President & CEO of Caribbean Education Foundation, "The CEF Learning Center will welcome children into a technology culture so they can compete on a global scale and be equipped with the necessary educational skills to improve their own lives."
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