February 7, 2011
There was a bounce in her step as she handed out programmes to persons attending Thursday’s opening ceremony of the new homework centre, which is accessible to students and Denham Town community residents.
“We can now do our research for our homework,” Duffus exclaimed, before adding, “I will use the computer to go to the GoGSAT website so I can study.” And true to her word, once the lab was officially opened, the school’s head girl planted herself in front of a computer and was busy solving problems with mathematical equilateral triangles. Past student of Denham Town Primary School, Jeffery Reid, had a vision for the West Kingston primary school and funds to help make it a reality. The New York-based philanthropist contributed to the establishment of a computer lab by providing funds towards a $6 million project. The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo) later partnered with the school and Reid, contributing $5 million to the school’s technological advancement.
“The establishment of this homework centre is a perfect example of community and corporate collaboration,” said Damian Obiglio, president and CEO of JPSCo. The utility company also pledged to partly cover administrative costs, provide a stipend for teachers in charge of the lab, and cover the utility cost. Education Minister Andrew Holness, who also visited Denham Town Primary, said computers are symbolic of advancement among children in Jamaica. “But having crossed that hurdle of the psychology of the computer, we must now use the computer. We want (teachers) to expose the children,” he said. He advised teachers not to just cherish the computers, but let the children have access to them. Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who is also the member of parliament for West Kingston, called for more corporate social responsibility. “Although the communities that surround downtown are poor, downtown is not poor so what we need to do is build the partnership […],” Golding said. Natisha Strudwick, seven, was one of the first set of children to test a computer, outfitted with the latest Windows 7 operating system. “I’m playing a matching game, see?” she said, showing The Gleaner team that the word ox matched oxen on the screen.