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Manchester Central MP distributes tablets and laptops to students


MANDEVILLE, Manchester — With schools remaining closed and the demand for virtual learning continually growing, just over 100 additional students in central Manchester have received well-needed electronic devices to access online learning .

This was disclosed by first-time Member of Parliament Rhoda Moy Crawford (JLP) last weekend as she gave a breakdown of $5.5 million allocated from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

According to Crawford, the online learning headache compounded by a lack of resources for families who cannot afford devices reminded her of her experiences as a child.

“I want to see a Manchester Central where irrespective of one’s socio-economic status, religion, gender, irrespective of differences, people have equal access to education and training,” declared Crawford.

“Among the challenges that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic are [financial difficulties] and so as MP, I felt very compelled to respond to my constituents varied needs… especially in the area of education and training.

“Both are a part of my priority issues as an educator myself and one who can credit education as the primary vehicle for getting me where I am today. I am a real champion of access to education and training. What I decided to do this time around, with the reduction in face-to-face modality, is to channel the resources of $ 5.5 million over the past seven months directly into the hands of constituents,” she pointed out.

Access to education was one of Crawford’s campaign promises which she says falls under the top three priorities for the constituency. The others are improved water supply and better roads.

With schools closed to physical learning, the MP has shifted the primary support of the CDF to the acquisition of devices and tuition grants.

“Rather than contributing to the physical infrastructure of our institutions of learning, I allocated $3.5 million to assist constituents, especially at the tertiary level. Provide tuition grants to 100 students,” she said.

“At the early childhood, primary and secondary level I realised [based on] the requests that came to my office, as well as my own observations from moving around the constituency, that many households didn’t have any tablets or laptops,” she explained.

She pointed out the disadvantages of students having to rely on their parent’s smartphones.

“The children in those households had to rely on the use of their parent’s cellphones, that robbed them of the opportunity especially with more than many children in the house, the opportunity to access education. I was able to provide laptops and tablets to ease the burden,” said Crawford.

“We will never have enough resources to respond to the needs of everyone at the same time, but some of the long-term plans that I have is to definitely continue to provide tuition grants,” added Crawford.

It is expected that face-to-face learning will return with efforts now being made to inoculate the population through a vaccination programme.

“As we prepare for the return of the face-to-face modality. I will be making contributions to the infrastructure of our institutions as well as upgrading many of the community centres,” said Crawford.

She is imploring constituents to make use of accessing the HEART/NSTA Trust’s training and certification services.

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