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New computer room for Free Hill Primary - Principal anticipates significant improvement in literacy, numeracy grades

Published:Saturday | February 14, 2015 | 12:00 AMOrantes Moore
Free Hill Primary School principal, from left, Martin Murphy, American Friends of Jamaica Ambassador Sue Cobb, and chairman of the Issa Trust Foundation Paul Isssa with students in their new resource room.

Students at Free Hill Primary and Infant School in St Mary celebrated the construction of a new computer room on Tuesday, thanks to an inspirational collaboration by local and United States-based charities.

At a special handover ceremony, the students paid tribute to the charity established by Couples Resorts 10 years ago, the Issa Trust Foundation (ITF), and the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) whose US$15,000 donation led to the development of the facility, which is equipped with computers, software, desks and chairs.

According to the school's principal, Martin Murphy, the fully air-conditioned unit will be used mostly by under-performing students to help improve their literacy and numeracy grades.

He told Rural Xpress: "We are hoping to see a significant improvement because the idea is to pull the children who are not performing out of the regular classes, and there will be a teacher who is dedicated to working on getting them on par with the other children.

"We are hoping to see these improvements reflected in our GSAT and grade-four literacy and numeracy results, and I think we are in good stead for that to happen."

AFJ ambassador Sue Cobb added: "We chose to donate to Free Hill Primary because the school has a need, the support of local people, and good leadership in the principal and staff who are dedicated to these children.

"We know and understand education is the future because the wealth of this country is dependent on the education of these very young children, and that's been proven time and time again.

"At high school, children start to lose interest and then college becomes less likely, so it's important we get them into education now."

ITF chairman Paul Issa noted that six additional computers would be arriving shortly and announced plans to expand the project to other rural schools. He said: "Although this is a small school, there are over 440 students here and, naturally, some will fall behind.

"When they do, they can be brought here, receive one-on-one tuition and be able to use the computer to explore and enhance their learning experience. It is something we'd like to replicate, so we're going to see how this works."