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Mayo RC Primary School Principal, Susie Sabala-Lyons, left, with standard five pupils Shanessa Sergeant and Lorenzo Sam who received tablets from Baksh Construction Services Ltd, MD Sharazodeen Baksh second from right, and director Zorisha Bash at the school yesterday

In these trying times where many students do not have access to online learning, a Barrackpore businessman donated 41 tablets to students at the Mayo RC School yesterday.

Sharazoodeen Baksh, managing director of Baksh Construction Services Limited appealed to other corporate bodies and individuals to help.

“Many parents just struggling to get by. If you can reach and give them something, you don’t have to give the whole school, at least look for the one that is in critical need and do something. If it is one or two tables you are still helping a child,” said Baksh.

The company is based at Barrackpore but they do operations at the quarry in Mayo near Williamsville.

“This being our second home it is only natural we adopt this area,” said Baksh.

Noting that the school has a population of 161 students, he said they would be making another donation of laptops since the majority of students do not have access to online learning. Asked if they were responding to the Education Ministry’s call to adopt a school, he said he was not aware of that initiative.

“This is part of our outreach programme..we saw the need and we are just here to assist,” he said.

Grateful for the company’s generosity, the school’s principal Susie Sabala-Lyons was elated. She said virtual education has been a challenge.

“In order for the students to complete their assignments we have recognized numerous challenges. Firstly, we had parents who are shift workers so some children could not complete their assignments on a daily basis. We also have parents who are working and those parents cannot be with the children during the course of the day because their (parents) cellphones are with them so it not until they get home, sometimes, most times after five in the afternoon or even later you have children now completing assignments and sending as late as 10 and 11 o’clock in the night.”

Due to the small phone screen, she said, some children have developed issues with their eyesight.

“This tablet has been an upgrade for them and certainly it has been a tremendous task having to cope. Parents told me about their (children) eyesight. Now we have a number of children having eye issues so I am just grateful that the parents have these tablets so the fonts can be bigger and the children can complete the assignments with ease.”

She said they received 40 tablets at her school and the other tablet was given to a student at Riversdale Presbyterian School.

One parent Marvin Taylor said the tablet would really go a long way in helping his two children who are both in Standard Five with their studies. He said his children use to take turns doing assignments on his cellphone which was not only challenging for them, but also for him because he uses his phone for work. “I am very grateful,” he added.