At the Bob Marley Primary and Junior High School, the only computer is located “in the administration department,” says principal Roxanne Williams. And the children enrolled “don’t know how to use computers.”
“We need to get these children on par with their peers across the island or sadly, they will be left behind in the race of life,” she said.
According to a report from the Jamaica Observer, the institution – based in the district of Stepney – was renamed earlier this year in honor of Bob Marley, who attended it as a child. The school has been receiving assistance from the Bob Marley Foundation for years, including a monthly $10,000 stipend to offset the cost of the breakfast program.
A representative from the Bob Marley Foundation said they are looking to get some computers for the school.
“That institution means a lot to the foundation, and we’ve been very supportive of it, even when it was the Stepney Primary and Junior High, and even more so now that it bears the name of the Honorable Robert Nesta Marley,” the representative said.
Some of the other challenges facing the institution named after Bob Marley include low scores on the Grade Nine Achievement Test and only having 11 teachers on staff for a school with a population of 174 students. Williams called it a “challenging environment,” but she is not going to give up on it.
“This is what I inherited, but we as administrators will have to come up with ingenious ways and use unconventional teaching methods to impart knowledge to the students,” she said.
Williams has even used some of her own money to begin rebuilding the Bob Marley school.
“I have bought some paint out of my own pocket and painted a badly defaced section of a wall with my own hands,” she said. “We are grateful for whatever help we receive, but we have to start moving forward.”
Another concern is that children at the Bob Marley school have had to use pit latrines, which Williams considers “unacceptable.”
“No child should come to school and be subjected to using a pit latrine,” she added.
Williams said she has bought some bathroom tiles, and community members have been working to repair a drinking fountain for the kids at the Bob Marley school.
While the Bob Marley Primary and Junior High School may be facing hard times, one image surfaced on the Jamaica Observer website that showed children at the institution improvising by using a stone to play football. This caught the attention of one reader, who said the image “emphasized the love of the game and the obvious determination to play, no matter what.”
[Image via Facebook]