The Balcombe Drive Primary and Junior High School in Olympic Gardens, St Andrew, will be the first to benefit from Project TEL which is targeted at providing schools with desktop computers, laptops, tablets and data. (Photos: Norman Thomas)

Rotaractors seek support for e-learning drive

A group of young professionals has launched an e-learning drive, dubbed Project Technological Enhanced Learning (TEL), to equip needy schools with electronic devices for the new school year, scheduled to begin on October 5.

The young professionals are also seeking contributions from the public for the project as the COVID-19 pandemic forces schools to rely more heavily on technology to support teaching and learning.

Project TEL is targeted at providing schools with desktop computers, laptops, tablets and data to prepare students to adapt to the new digital learning landscape.

The Rotaract Club of St Andrew, which is making the plea, says it hopes to start with the Balcombe Drive Primary and Junior High School in Olympic Gardens, St Andrew, where computers are needed to shore up its new computer lab.

President of the club, Kevaughn McNeil, says the school was being targeted based on a needs assessment.

“Following the decision by the Government to embark on providing more learning content electronically, we thought the need would mostly exist among schools in rural Jamaica,” said McNeil.

“However, the result of a needs assessment survey conducted by the club confirmed that schools are affected irrespective of location,” added McNeil.

The club is hoping to donate 25 desktop computers to the Balcombe Drive Primary and Junior High School's new computer lab, which is currently without equipment. It is welcoming donations from willing contributors.

The aim is improve the computer competencies of the students, McNeil said, given the dramatic shift to online learning due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They will be introduced to platforms and tools to support learning and research to equip them to better navigate and manipulate resources that will support learning,” he said.

Community services director, Kimberley Buckeridge, further explained that the intention is to serve the surrounding Olympic Gardens community and prepare them for digital inclusion.

“We are starting with the students, but we also want to introduce their parents to commonly used digital services [and] platforms. It is perceived that this will better equip the parents to support remote learning, while, at the same time, prepare them to navigate the new digital space, which, because of COVID, is much closer to becoming our reality,” outlined Buckeridge as she explained the club's vision and pointed out that routine audits will be conducted to measure whether the project is meeting its objectives.

“The club members believe the future generation will move the country onward if they are given equal opportunities. And, Project TEL is one such opportunity,” added Buckeridge.

The Rotaract Club of St Andrew is a non-profit service club that was established on May 8, 2008 and now maintains one of the strongest pool of volunteers and members who are committed to service and making a positive impact on communities locally and internationally.

Persons willing to donate to Project TEL may contact the Rotaract Club of St Andrew at 876-576-9730, or 1876-787-1557, or reach to the club on Instagram @rcsajamaica.