Hundreds of students are expected to benefit from an initiative of the Kingston Western Police as they partner with critical stakeholders to deliver continued access to education to children in the division while schools remain closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The idea was inspired when Police officers working in the Kingston Western Division noticed that despite virtual classes being offered by several schools in the area, many students seemed unoccupied.
“When we enquired, we realized that there were gaps; many of the students did not have internet access, and while some were willing to purchase data, they had no suitable devices on which to access the resources,” explained Detective Inspector Pilmar Powell, who is based at the Kingston and St Andrew Forward OperatingBase in the community.
Inspector Powell said after consulting with Superintendent Leighton Gray—the officer in charge of the Kingston Western Division—and representatives of the Ministry of Education, planning went into high gear. The Jamaica Social Investment Fund, the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Alumni Association for High Schools quickly came on board to support the initiative.
In the end, it was decided that four days a week, worksheets covering all the subject areas in the curriculum would be available for pickup at three locations—St. Andrew Primary School, Charlie Smith High School and the Denham Town Restorative Centre. To reduce the risk of crowding, the collection is segmented according to different grade levels.
Cassia Murray, a resident of Denham Town, was one of the parents who collected educational packages on Monday.
“I have a child who is in need of the help and we don’t really have computers or tablets…so to get the sheets, it’s very helpful…it’s a good help for the community and those who need it,” she shared.
Superintendent Leighton Graysummed up the initiative, saying that it was another manifestation of the JCF serving its communities.
“We know the challenges as it relates to the community and so for the JCF, as a force for good, it’s important for us to have these children [continuing their education] so they can spend their time more wisely,” he said.