Teaching has become easier for educators at Lluidas Vale Primary School in St. Catherine following the donation of seven classroom whiteboards to the educational institution.
The donation was made by Love Vale Community Development Foundation, which comprises Lluidas Vale natives living abroad.
Founder of the group, Errol Butler, better known as Pasco, said members of the foundation did not hesitate when the school made a request for assistance.
“When I put it in the group that we need the money [to purchase the boards], by two hours time we received it,” he said. “Everybody was quite understanding and wanted to support.”
Acting Principal at Lluidas Vale Primary, Jennifer Landell, is grateful for the benevolence.
“The teachers are very appreciative, and they (the whiteboards) are being used presently. It was a very kind gesture; Love Vale didn’t hesitate; they just took on the task and offered their help,” she told The Beacon.
The school approached Love Vale initially for tablets last year when Government banned face-to-face classes to help fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Classes are now being held online.
To improve the students’ online experience, Love Vale acted on the school’s request for tablets, but ran into importation challenges.
The principal explained: “Love Vale tried to get them (tablets) into the country through the Ministry [of Education], but the Ministry said they were not compatible with the element system we were using. So, they (Love Vale members) sold the tablets.”
The acting principal added that, by the time the tablets were bought and eventually sold, a relatively large percentage of the 145 students had already obtained one of the devices.
Not allowing the school to leave the discourse empty-handed, Love Vale advised the institution to request something else. That’s when the acting principal asked for whiteboards.
“I told them that the teachers need boards for demonstration lessons. That’s how those boards came into the picture,” said Landell, who still teaches despite her leadership role.
She told The Beacon: “Before we got the boards, I would write on paper and hold it up for the students to see [during online classes]. That sometimes take a lot of time. Now that I have the board, I can just write on it and the students see it at the same time. So, it is helping.”
The acting principal further stated that, although whiteboards and tablets are now available to students, there are still major challenges, especially with the internet not being reliable in the Lluidas Vale area.
She explained: “There is internet available in the community, but it is not consistent; it drops regularly. So teachers can’t even go to school to have classes from there. They have to stay home where the internet source is more reliable as most of us live outside the community. The students drop out of class many times for the day [due to internet issues].
“We also have issues with students attending [online classes). I don’t think parents are doing a good job making sure the students are out of bed and on time for classes in the morning. It is a challenge,” the acting principal further said.
Despite the challenges, Love Vale is happy that it was able to make a positive difference.
A member of the group, Otis Brown, who is visiting from the United States, travelled to Lluidas Vale and handed over the whiteboards to teachers on February 22. He was accompanied by community activist Andes Smith.
Brown told The Beacon: “It was a pleasure doing that because I am a community person, and doing things like that make me feel good. No one has to force me to do anything for my community or any other community. That was actually born in me – to help people.”
“Education is the main objective; we need to educate the students first because, if we don’t educate them, they won’t have a proper future; they won’t know where they are going,” Brown further reasoned.
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