Donors Praised For Contribution Of Computers

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JetBlue, Khan Academy and the father and son team of Frederick and Alex Eiden, responsible for bringing the Khan Academy Mathematics Initiative to Barbados, have all been commended for injecting new life into Mathematics.

The entities came in for praise today as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Harry Husbands, presented 30 computers, on behalf of JetBlue and Khan Academy, to Bay Primary, Cuthbert Moore and People???s Cathedral primary schools.

Senator Husbands thanked the two agencies and the Eiden family ???for their continued interest and contribution to the educational system, principally at the primary level, and in Mathematics in Barbados??? as a whole.

Stressing that the educational system was built on contributions from many agencies apart from the state, he noted that these included churches, service clubs, community groups, and in recent time the Maria Holder Trust and the Derrick Smith family.

???Without their help, undoubtedly, we would not be in a position to do many of the things that we have done,??? he said, recalling that two weeks ago the Ministry had toured one of two new nursery schools being built as a gift from the Maria Holder Trust.

Mr. Husbands added that the computers and the Khan Academy initiative came at a critical point, since Barbados needed assistance in the area of Mathematics for the Common Entrance Examination and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well.

However, he pointed out that the technology was an aid and could not stand in place of solid preparation by teachers; motivating and exciting programmes; and teaching plans and activities in the classroom that are centred around teachers.

Emphasising that technology was there to assist and not replace the fundamental things about teaching and the planning and presentation of a lesson, he said these, for him, still remained important.

Meanwhile, Senior Education Officer, Fernando Carter, said the Ministry was hoping to expand the roll-out of computers to replace aging equipment in the education system. He said the Ministry recognised that technology needed to be replaced to facilitate the type of learning necessary within the schools, and especially in terms of Mathematics.

Today???s presentation represented the second phase of computers to Barbadian schools, sourced with the assistance of the Eiden family. Last year, through the family, JetBlue donated 30 computers.

These were handed over to St. Ambrose and St. Luke???s Brighton, two of the 10 primary schools on board the Khan Academy Mathematics Initiative. The others schools are: Charles F. Broome, St. Christopher; Bayley???s, People???s Cathedral, Ellerton, Cuthbert Moore, Bay Primary and Hillaby Turners Hall.

Alex Eiden, an Essex Fells, New Jersey, resident and student at Montclair Kimberley Academy, is the brainchild behind the programme in Barbados, and is credited for helping the Education Ministry to implement it.

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organisation created in 2006 by educator Salman “Sal” Khan with the aim of providing a free, world-class education ???for anyone, anywhere???.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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