Jordan Hewitt: Supporting Equitable Access to Education in the Caribbean
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hey, friends! It's Spiffy again, back on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! I have another great interview for you this week. Today, I’m excited to chat with Jordan Hewitt, the owner and operator of Quelpr.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me today, Jordan! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your startup?
Jordan: The pleasure is mine, Spiffy! In the Caribbean, we follow a syllabus assembled by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). At the same time, access to educational resources throughout the region is not equitable, and a vast inequality exists in schools across the countries. We can’t accept this status quo which leaves so many students disadvantaged. Quelpr addresses the issue of access by providing trustworthy academic resources and connecting tutors to students in need.
Spiffy: Awesome! What motivated you to tackle this challenge?
Jordan: Until the pandemic, I used to share old notebooks filled with study notes with underclassmen yearly. Schools closed and for many, learning halted. I knew I could produce notes that helped younger schoolmates and considered it my duty to help fellow students rapidly approaching regional exit examinations. My solution was simple: a free website whose name referenced the ‘helper’—Quelpr!
Spiffy: Tell me more about how Quelpr is working towards a more equitable world.
Jordan: Quelpr is creating and continuing to host free resources for students across the Caribbean and the world. By providing educational resources, answers to questions in a chat, and hosting marathons, we’re trying to encourage equal access to education across the Caribbean. In addition, connecting volunteer tutors and students through Quelpr Tutoring is helping get support to students who need it.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make on your community or audience?
Jordan: The most recent Quelpr initiative has been Quelpr Tutoring, a long-term project that involved developing a web application to connect students with capable tutors. The intention of the initiative is to make it easier for tutors (students, volunteers, or professionals) to support students directly with tools for session management and verification. By freely hosting local tutoring programs and assisting organizers, Quelpr directly helps promote this kind of community support within the region.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Jordan: Submitting my app to the Zoom marketplace was something that I had to do. My app was rejected the first time. And the second. And the third. Each time, there were more details that I hadn’t yet considered. But, I kept working and fixing the little issues, learning about security and data standards each time. Even though I failed along the way, keeping at it allowed me to reach my goal.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Jordan—it’s been an honor!
Jordan Hewitt is a Jamaican student with a passion for biology and education. He is set on providing academic support to improve education and create access to relevant resources and infrastructure. His project, Quelpr, provides free resources to hundreds of thousands of students and connects students to tutors. (Nominated by Rise of Schmidt Futures. First published on the Ladderworks website on March 30, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.