The RKM Foundation

The RKM Foundation
Thank you!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jamaica's Education System

 Family ,the issue of quality education  being accessible  to all children in Jamaica  has been the source of numerous  debates in Jamaica for decades.  There are many factors that affect our education system  and while it is always tempting to list them,we find that to be counterproductive. We strongly believe it is time we stopped the discussion and started along the clear  path to a viable solution. A solution that  will benefit our children, helping our country to grow as we educate and equip the next generation  with the necessary  skills to succeed.
 Jamaica  has grown tremendously in terms of education from its humble begins, for that they must be commended as they are on  schedule to achieving an 85% literacy  rate for children by the year 2015. This is impressive and we would like to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated parents, principals, teachers and education ministers who  have worked tirelessly to realize this vision.
We  took the time to review a few statistically reports on literacy  and while Jamaica is ahead  of many  nations, compared to many of their Caribbean  counterparts  they could be doing better.  Jamaica had an overall 87.9% literacy rate while Trinidad&Tobago had  -98.6%,St. Vincent-96%, St. Kitts &Nevis  97.8%, Cuba 99.8% Bahamas- 95.6%, Monsterrat- 97% and Aruba at 96.8%
The need to implement more reading programs in schools while fostering an environment of reading in the homes needs to continue if  they are going to reach and exceed  their goal of a 85% literacy  rate for children.
Other  issues  plaguing the  education system include; overpopulation and under population in schools. Over population  is a prominent issue in urban areas  throughout the island  while underpopulation is prominent issue and a  reason for immediate concerns in  rural areas.
The  Ministry of Education gives a student to teacher ratio of:
Infant                     30:1
Primary Schools   35:1
All - Age Schools (Grades 1 - 6) 35:1
Primary & Junior High Schools ( Grades 1 - 6) 35:1
All - Age Schools (Grades 7 - 9) 35:1
Primary & Junior High Schools ( Grades 7 - 9) 30:1
Secondary High Schools ( With Grades 7 - 11) 25:1
Secondary High Schools ( With Grades 12 & 13) 20:1
Technical High Schools 20:1
Agricultural High Schools 25:1
Special Education Schools/Units 8:1
School Services Division
However  we were able to find student to teacher ratio at  47:1 In  School Field Primary and  42:1  at Hasting Primary in Trelawny. Sharp  contrasts were found in Hanover at Jericho Primary  which had on 28 students and 4 teachers a ratio of 7:1 among others. The underpopulation and overpopulation  of schools in Jamaica is a reason  for much  concern,we are most concerned  about  the quality of education children  are receiving  at both ends of this spectrum. If a classroom is too crowded children slip through the cracks, learning becomes arduous, resources become limited and teachers exhausted.
In underpopulated schools resources are  limited, structures are dilapidated, children are not challenged which results  in students not performing at the recommended level and teacher become unmotivated.
The solution has to be found in the middle which reflects  the student to teacher  ratio represented in the  chart shown above and an environment  that  is conducive to learning at all levels.
The Jamaican government is aware  of these contrasting  issues and has been working on mergers which will be beneficial for the students.
 "This growing challenge cannot go unchecked and we are exploring  several options.... It is something that will have to happen gradually because it will improve the Government's assistance and at the same time we will get better outcomes from the children," Thwaites 
  Family, the attached  link will allow you  to take a closer look at the number of schools in the Jamaica, capacity,enrollment etc.
Much Love &Walk Good

Happy Reggae Month


 Yes, it is reggae  month in Jamaica. If you were unaware and feeling a little out of touch, don't be,we are  here to get you involved with all things reggae and  the various events that  have taken  place and will be taking place throughout  the month of February in Jamaica. 

A month long celebration  of reggae  music in Jamaica. The global impact of the music is highlighted and the genres  founding  fathers are celebrated for their contribution along with current artist  from both reggae and dancehall music.

Why is it Celebrated in February
February was  chosen for a variety of reason including, black history month and the fact that two iconic reggae artists celebrated their  birthday in February- Bob Marley - The king of Reggae Music and Dennis  Brown- the Crown Prince of Reggae.

When was it's Inception 

 Former Prime Minister  Bruce  Golding  designated  February, Reggae month  in  2008, making this the  fifth year of celebration. 

Who organizes these events

 Reggae  month is organized  by  Jamaica  Reggae Industry Association who partners with the Jamaica  Tourist  Board.

What Events are schedule  for Reggae Month 2014:

 Reggae Wednesdays- open air concerts  at Emancipation  Park every Wednesday starting  February 2
 Trench Town  Rock
 Tribute to Dennis Brown
 JARIA Trade Show
Honour Awards Show
Epic Sound System Explosion

 For  more information

 We  also wanted to  share  some old school  reggae with you .
 Peter Tosh
Dennis Brown

Much  Love &Walk Good

Jamaican Diaspora Summit- January 18-21, 2014

 Family, the past week was filled with much excitement as the Jamaican Diaspora hosted the Advancement in Education  Summit in Jamaica  between February 18-21st. It was promoted as Jamaica's first education summit, with its focal point  being on the critical needs, limitations and strengths of Jamaica education  system.

Being involved with the diaspora and seeing their enthusiasm as they seek to  elevate the Jamiacan  education  system thereby ushering  in a dynamic new approach  to learning for our youth  made us eager to see the results of the summit.
The Advancement in  Education  2014 is a new project that has been endorsed by- Minister of Education Hon. Ronald Thwaites, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Hon. Arnaldo Brown, along with President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, Mr. Mark Nicely.

The Summit was hosted in two locations; with the first being  held on Tuesday February 18th at the Rose Hall Hilton Resort in  Montego Bay, St. James. The second being held Thursday February 20th at, the Cedar Grove Academy in Portmore, St. Catherine. The Summit included presenters from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ministry of Education, Jamaica Teachers Association, Joint Board of Jamaica Teachers Association(J.T.A),Early Childhood Commission,other key organizations and members of the Jamaican Diaspora and the Jamaican Prime Minister- Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.

As stated by Leo Gilling  Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board Member for the West/Midwest Region of the US "The Education Summit 2014 was developed out of collaboration with the Jamaica Awareness Association of California which conducted a Mini Summit in Montego Bay in June, 2013. The idea has mushroomed into a national plan so that all schools, colleges and universities can  benefit from the potential outcomes of collaboration and the vision of bringing improvements to the overall system of education in Jamaica, throughout Jamaica and remain in line with Jamaica’s Vision 2030."

This  summit was endorsed and attended  by over  400 members  within the education sector  in western Jamaica along with representatives  from around the world. Numerous organizations who have been  championing the cause  for  Early Childhood Education and Education as a whole were represented at the summit.  These included; Jamaica Impact Inc., Crayon Counts,The RKMFoundation, Inc.,Chicago for Concerned Jamaicans,Jamaican American Association  of Northern California, Jalawelo, JAAC, UJAA  and other organizations.

 We are honored to be involved with this movement of reforming the education system  in our Island home.

Family, as you all know we are passionate about our little ones and their learning process.We donate books to schools because we want to promote reading, we donate toys because we want to promote change through the concept of imaginative play.
Education  is vital and it is important  that we all help in championing the cause  for the benefit of our little ones.

Much love &Walk Good!!!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I am in Pre-school

We stumbled on this message!!!!!

P&S -Packing and Shipping

  "When I was a kid  my parents moved a lot, but I always found them" Rodney Dangerfield
  "People  around  the world  are  moving  from one place to another. No one was staying" Jonathan Safran
 On January 18th we had our official packing day, we came together determined to get it all done in one day  and we did just that; we lifted,sorted,washed,dried,cleaned,organized and  packed 2  24*48*24 boxes with  toys, books and stuffed animals for our little ones  in Jamaica. The day was too cold to second guess our decision, we were a team on a mission.

Everyone was committed, giving  new meaning to that ancient  proverb " it takes a village to  raise a child', apparently it is also true for packing and shipping boxes of toys to children overseas. The overwhelming demonstration of  human benevolence humbled me. Messages went out, people showed up; -volunteered their homes, time,dedication and strength, pitching in to do every and anything necessary to ensure that we got everything in place for the shippers, who arrived  after  a snow storm  to collect the boxes and get them to the port on January 22nd.

 Words won't allow me to express just  how amazing this entire process was, however, I do believe that these images will be able to paint a more vivid  picture of just how EUPHORIC this process was.

Stuffed toys and Tennis balls

Team Organizer Troy showing the size of the box

Box1- Half packed

Box 1-Fully packed

Happy Early birds- cleaning toys and getting ready to sort through bags

Boxes 1&2  getting taped up

Lifting 400lb boxes is really hard work

Team 1- Boxes in the cargo truck

  Team 1-Exhausted but we have to keep going

Team 2- Unpacking 400lb boxes

Team 2- Cold but focused

Team 2- reinforcing after we had to add a few left over toys

Next stop, JAMAICA W.I
Family, we appreciate  you  in every way and for all you do, your donations made it possible for us to ship these boxes filled with all the toys and books you donated. Don't think for a minute that we are not thankful for your generosity. WE ARE!!!!


People had this idea about becoming rock stars packing stadiums instead of having the goal of becoming what musicians used to be in terms of how they would perform and connect people.
People had this idea about becoming rock stars packing stadiums instead of having the goal of becoming what musicians used to be in terms of how they would perform and connect people.
People had this idea about becoming rock stars packing stadiums instead of having the goal of becoming what musicians used to be in terms of how they would perform and connect people.

People had this idea about becoming rock stars packing stadiums instead of having the goal of becoming what musicians used to be in terms of how they would perform and connect people.