Singjay/social media blogger A'mari, aka DJ Mona Lisa, is calling on Internet providers to give children, who are home for the next two weeks, free service so they can continue learning.
“As our country continues to manage the COVID-19 emergency, Jamaicans need to stay connected — to their families, their workplaces, their schools, and the latest information about the virus — through the Internet. And since there are many households with students home because schools and colleges have temporarily closed, there needs to be a switch to online classes because the learning must continue. Jamaican students should not be allowed to fall behind,” said A'mari.
“This is a difficult time. Thousands of poor Jamaicans don't have Internet service at home so Internet connectivity becomes even more important at this time, and our service providers should be willing to respond in this national emergency,” she continued.
All public schools were closed on Friday, March 13 for 14 days. Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the decision would be reviewed after 10 days.
More than half of Jamaica's population reportedly has access to the Internet, the country currently has the third largest Internet user base in the Caribbean with 1.6 million mobile users and is ranked 12th out of 58 countries surveyed in the Internet Accessibility Index in 2017.
The blogger-cum-artiste has pledged to provide phonecards to students which will allow them to purchase data to get online access, and started a drive among members of the Jamaican Diaspora to purchase a batch of phonecards which she will give away during her daily podcasts. These cards will be given to parents of primary school-age children, who are the most needy, under an 'Amar'si Net4Kids' initiative that she started on Monday.
“PEP has been postponed but this is not a holiday; we need to make a commitment to the learning of our children and be serious about it. That's why I gave out 50 $200 phonecards via my Facebook Live feed to the parents of children who need access to continue their studies. We have to step up and help each other,” she said.