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Following complaints that children from the southwestern peninsula were being deprived of their education, former Senator Gerald Ramdeen has set up a homework centre in Cedros to cater for eight schools.

Under his charitable foundation Help T&T, Ramdeen said the centre will be officially launched today from 10 am at Bamboo Village, Cedros.

“The communities will receive a fully equipped virtual classroom and learning centre that is outfitted with photocopying facilities, full internet access, a library and laptops, together with school supplies. These will all be supplied free of charge to the children of these communities,” he said.

“Two permanent teachers will also be present to assist the students, parents and teachers of surrounding schools in accessing unlimited internet access and photocopying facilities,” he added.

Ramdeen said students from Cedros Secondary, Icacos Government Primary, Lochmaben RC Primary, Cedros Government Primary, Cedros Anglican Primary, Coromandel Anglican Primary and Granville RC Primary will have access to the centre.

Two weeks ago, councillor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh said more than 800 children from five schools in the Southwestern peninsula could not access online schooling, nor have they been able to get the promised weekly printed packages.

One parent Delia Ramcharitar said parents were getting increasingly fed up and worried about their children’s future. She said getting a reliable internet supply was very difficult and she was afraid that many children are being left behind.

Another parent, Baby Laldeo from Chatham, said her two children had no devices, no internet to access classes and no packages.

The ministry later conducted a detailed investigation and said the 776 students enrolled across the seven schools, only 23 were not accessing schooling either online or through packages.

Six students of Southern Central Anglican School are not accessing schooling and attempts to contact the parents and students via telephone/mobile have proved futile, the ministry said.

The students have since been referred to the Student Support Services Division and the help of the Community Police has been solicited.

“At Cedros Secondary, 17 students not accessing education through online or printed packages at this time. Of these, one parent indicated that their child would not be accessing Home Based Learning. Also, data collected indicated that 217 students at the school have connectivity and 176 have access to a personal electronic device (of which 120 is a smartphone).