Barbadians working at United Nations (BajUNs), in New York, are doing their part to assist in the Ministry of Education’s ‘Tech Drive’ to vulnerable students.
On behalf of BajUNs, Barbados’ Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Elizabeth Thompson, made a donation of 21 1T Alcatel Tablets, two HP 14” laptops and 10 Berrcom non-contact infrared thermometers to the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, this morning.
Ambassador Thompson said the initiative, which was spearheaded by Rosanne Clarke, is an effort by the 15 Barbadians working at the New York based UN Headquarters, who wanted to give back to their country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This donation is to “ensure that a generation of students is equipped to deal with technology both in the time of COVID and beyond”, Ms. Thompson said.
She added that in today’s world, technology is creating new pathways for growth, development, learning and revenue generation.
Ms. Thompson expressed the view that the education system should move away from teaching and learning by rote, and should be “creating a more creative, innovative, entrepreneurial student, who will see their market, not just as Barbados, but certainly a global market space in which they can operate, and which the technology now gives us access to”.
The Ambassador shared that the BajUNs in New York were “giddy with excitement” that their donation was going to assist students in their online learning, and were already talking about picking up another collection to do another contribution.
Also present during the donation was Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Sandra Husbands, who thanked the BajUNs for their donation.
Ms. Husbands revealed that Barbadians across the diaspora have constantly been asking how they could contribute to their country of birth, the country of their ancestors, and more so recently during the pandemic.
Minister Husband said: “A number of them have been able to contribute gifts and resources and information that has been helpful. While the most important things they were able to do, was to help us make the necessary connections that we needed in order to get supplies during the COVID lockdown.”
Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, noted that the Ministry had not planned for COVID-19, however, the Ministry is working feverishly, and has made “headway” in providing devices for students.
She said: “It has not been an easy battle to make sure that we have all of our devices in place in a timely manner. There are lots of commitments that people have made, and who have been trying to source devices from overseas, and it is an ongoing process.
“The good thing about it is that the vast majority of the students who will be sitting the 11 plus examination and doing exams, they have been given priority.”
Minister Bradshaw thanked Ambassador Thompson and asked her to convey appreciation to all of the individuals who contributed to the donation, stating that “we are more than interested in continuing to engage in dialogue, to see how they can continue to contribute”.