JIS News

Portsmouth Primary School in Portmore, St. Catherine, one of the 28 schools which took part in the Smart Jamaica pilot project from April to July 2004, obtained the highest amount of money from tokens, totalling some $212,921.
At a presentation ceremony and launch of Phase One the project last week at the institution, the school was awarded four Dell computers, and an all expense paid four-day trip for two to Barbados donated by British West Indian Airways (BWIA).
The prize was presented to Sylvia Turpin, a teacher at Portsmouth Primary and Vivian Richards, a Grade five student, for contributing significantly to the school’s success. While in Barbados, they will visit two schools that have successfully integrated information and communication technologies in their curriculum, as well as historical sights on the island.
Smart Jamaica is a non-profit organisation, aimed at increasing access to computer education in Primary, All-age and Secondary schools. Currently, 70 schools from the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, St. Thomas and Clarendon are involved in the project.
Principal of the school, Pauline Brown attributed the school’s performance to “team work and commitment” of teachers, parents and students.
“A major part of the success we experienced came from the support and assistance that the parents gave. They were the ones out there selling the tokens,” she told JIS News, adding that tokens were bought by relatives and friends of the children and past students of the school.
Miss Brown said that the school would try to improve on its past performance during phase the first phase of the project.
“The fact that the school came out on top is enough encouragement and motivation for them to want to see us get more computers in the library,” she added.
Miss Brown said she was very happy that the school was awarded the four computers, since there was only one at the institution which was being used by grades 4, 5 and 6 students as well as teachers, to access information from the Internet.
She noted that on many occasions, parents approached her concerning the establishment of a computer laboratory at the school. However, she said this was not possible because of the lack of funds.
Now that the school has obtained additional computers, Miss Brown said she would be using a section of the library to establish a computer station.
“We’re also looking down the road where we can have community members use them with us and we will be looking to see how best we can organise this, because we do not want to know that the community worked with us to acquire the computers and they don’t have access,” she said.
Funds were collected through a Smart Jamaica token system, whereby each contributor is sold a Smart token with a value of $20. Schools that have collected less than $70,000 will carry forward their contributions to Phase One.
Schools that obtained contributions totalling over $70,000 were Oracabessa Primary, Morant Bay Primary, St. Jago High, Seaforth High, Kellits Primary and Bridgeport Primary and High Schools.

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