Diaspora group dontates 30 tablets to Allman Town students

PRINCIPAL of Allman Town Primary School in Kingston La-Toya Nesbitt yesterday praised Lloyd Leach, chief executive officer for the Allman Town Diaspora Group based in Atlanta Georgia, for helping to close the digital divide by donating 30 tablets to students.

According to Nesbitt, the 30 who received devices were mainly grades one and two students, with only two children from grade three receiving tablets. The principal explained that she had been swamped with complaints from parents that their children had no access to digital devices to log on to online classes. As a result, a partnership was made with the Diaspora group, which has for many years been actively investing in the community, for the tablets to be distributed.

“We have had parents reaching out to us to say, ‘Listen, we want our students to be online, but we are having our challenges in getting that done,’ and so these students were hand-picked. Since they are the foundation grades – one and two – we believe that we cannot afford for the learning loss to be too great at that level, and so we made it our point of duty to ensure that these students are online,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Nesbitt urged the parents to ensure the students actually log on to lessons as well as protect the devices.

“People are investing in you with their own money to purchase tablets for you, and it means that you are going to treat this tablet like an egg. If you drop an egg, it breaks and it is the same thing that will happen with the tablets. It means, actually, that you also have the responsibility to ensure that they are actually online and in classes. If as a school we are making the effort to provide the tablets, we are asking you to do your part.”

Leon Broderick, a grade two student, expressed satisfaction with yesterday’s development. He told the Observer that he previously used a smartphone to access online classes, but since it became damaged recently, he was out of the loop. His mother, Neisha Anderson said, “I really appreciate this 100 per cent because, at times, he could not get online because of a lack of a device. I would have to send him next door for him to finish up his classes.”

Leach told the Observer that the donation will give the 30 students an opportunity to learn more about technology and possibly consider careers in the field.

“Closing the digital divide in Jamaica is what we are all about. The digital divide is when kids don’t have access to the Internet and devices and other resources. I have been an information technology (IT) engineer for 25 years and I know what it takes to succeed. There are many, many jobs that an IT person can do by learning the computer and learning to get on the Internet.

“You can start your own business and pretty much do anything you want to do. It is imperative that you guys treat it like the Bible. Treat them carefully and don’t leave them for anybody to steal them. Parents, we need your help and involvement as much as you can,” he said.

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