The beneficiary is the Hazard Primary School and Special Education Unit in Clarendon, Jamaica which serves children between six to twelve years. Hazard Primary is a public school with about 700 students from surrounding communities. The school began experiencing a significant growth in its student population in the early 1980s when many families from some of the "Garrison Communities" in Kingston sought refuge at the Canaan Heights Squatter Settlement.
The school is situated in the community of Curatoe Hill in Central Clarendon, and provides education to students in the sounding area of Curatoe Hill, Sunny Side, Canaan Heights, New Bowens and Hazard Drive and the Mineral Height community. It is approximately two kilometers from the parish capital, May Pen. Clarendon, one of the most rural areas of Jamaica where many families are at risk, especially due to the collapse of tourism since the 2020 pandemic.
According to the Jamaica Voluntary National Review Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Clarendon had among the largest number of persons registered for the Jamaican Poor Relief Program; a pass rate of 49 percent in national testing on English and Mathematics; suffered above the national average in beach/shoreline erosion resulting from hurricane damage. This project will help to provide a lifeline to this troubled area.
Computer literacy and internet access are fundamental to improving education and world awareness and can be transformative for individuals and society. However, the lack of reliable electrical power remains a fundamental impediment to effectively using educational technology in remote areas of many countries. In these situations, mobile computer networks provide teachers with the opportunity to simultaneously work with many students while still individualizing help to each student's needs. This effective approach to teaching, known as "precision teaching," was developed in the US about 40 years ago.
This small pilot project provides a computer lab in a box and will be completed in conjunction with the May Pen Rotary Club, District 7020. As a demonstration project, this computer lab will assist the Jamaica school in determining the equipment and configuration that works most effectively in that location and for the school's needs. It will also form the baseline for an expanded project in other locations in an upcoming Rotary year. By providing a methodology for cost-effective battery-powered computing for schools, it can also be transported to other developing countries.
The project will build a portable nine-station computer network suitable for up to eight hours of battery-powered daily classroom use anywhere, inside or outside of a conventional classroom or building, even when there is no access to standard AC electrical outlets. Teachers in remote regions unpack the pre-configured computers and turn them on. Minimal electrical power is required to recharge the battery-operated computers and wireless central network storage when not in use; this can be accomplished with highly fluctuating, less reliable AC power. It will also include basic office software and used digital cameras so as to support students in preparing for a broader range of possible future professional occupations.
A letter of need, cooperation and joint publicity is coming from the school director and will include the understanding that the school will provide security for the equipment and assume ownership and ongoing maintenance responsibilities.
This is similar to a project completed by the Soldotna Rotary club in Nicaragua in 2015-2017.
Use of Funds
If less funds are available from District 5010 DDF, the scope of the project during the pilot year will be reduced by acquiring a smaller amount of equipment.
A project budget is shown below. Because available new and refurbished models change from time to time, the specific models obtained may vary from what is indicated.
Note: Additional funds have been requested, but not yet confirmed, from the Jamaican club. These would be added to the budget to expand the project with additional equipment. The funds are anticipated, but are not included here.
Number of Rotarians
A minimum of 6 Rotarians from the eClub will be involved in planning and implementing the project in conjunction with at least 4 Rotarians from the local club. One of the eClub's members lives in Jamaica and will coordinate the project onsite. Two eClub Rotarians will transport the computers from the US to Jamaica, along with a non-Rotary colleague possessing technical expertise for set up and ensuring functionality of the network.
In addition, Joe Kashi, Soldotna Rotary Club, will provide consultation to the eClub members in implementation of the project as needed based on experience with the prior Nicaraguan project.
August 2022 to April 2023
(All funds shown are in USD.)
• Nine Dell notebook computers, refurbished, acquired directly from Dell Computer. Refurbished computers are recent models accompanied by a Dell warranty and are the best buy for student use as they do not need the newest and fastest systems. Dell notebooks are ruggedly built, an important factor for student use. Nine computers at average of 300.00 per system including shipping. 2700.00.
• One Western Digital 1TB wireless MyPassport Pro, a small battery-powered, Wi-Fi unit which can connect up to 8 computers simultaneously. This allows student work and data to be stored centrally and available to all computers. 175.00
• One Brother laser printer (generic toner cartridges and replacement drum included). An allowance for shipping this heavier item is included. 450.00
• One APC UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to ensure full-day operation to support individual computers when batteries run down during the class day. Due to shipping restrictions for large batteries, this equipment will be acquired locally. 250.00
• Two APC surge protectors with USB charging ports to be plugged into electric mains wall socket and plugged via power strip to UPS to charge student computers overnight or late in instructional day. 70.00
• One line voltage regulator to place in sequence ahead of the expensive UPS and initial APC surge protector. This avoids fatal impact of erratic voltage on computer electronics. 75.00
• Two used Canon G9 PowerShot cameras. These cameras are well built and high quality, and will stand up to supervised student use. These are currently available used. 200.00.
• Word-processing and other software. Free open software compatible with MS Office include LibreOffice and OfficeSuite. These will be evaluated, selected and installed, based on the computer system and student need. Free photo processing software will also be included.
• Shipping, import duties and setup vary by timeframe of implementation, as are used computer prices as specified for this project. Contingency: 1100.00.