Principal of the Barbados Community College, Annette Alleyne. (FP)

A national hearing assessment project has been commended for the impact it has had on students at all levels, including Barbados Community College (BCC) students, who have been provided with “an additional avenue of community engagement”.

Principal of the BCC, Annette Alleyne, drew attention to the positives that result when the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training; educational institutions and non-governmental organisations work together to identify and address deficits in the educational system. 

She was addressing today’s launch of the Ellen Steinbok Hearing Project, at the Elsie Payne Complex.

“Our students become the beneficiaries and the quality of education in the island is enhanced,” she said, while acknowledging BCC’s involvement in the initiative that will continually seek to screen primary school children across the island.

Outlining the input by BCC, she noted that in collaboration with the Barbados Speech and Hearing Centre, they organised a series of workshops on the campus and BCC students were trained in ‘hearing loss identification’. 

Emphasising that the training was of a high quality, she commended Audiologist, Ben Stabler, from the Barbados Speech and Hearing Centre, who trained BCC students as he worked along with BCC’s Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Therapy Technology (RTT) programme, Gabrielle Clarke.

She also pointed out that 12 students in the Introduction to Audiology component of their programme of study, attended a series of four workshops during the previous semester, September to December 2021. 

And, Ms. Alleyne remarked that subsequently, at the request of the Rotary Club of Barbados West, 17 additional volunteers were trained, with the intent of expeditiously advancing the project.  These included students from the National Give Back Programme, BCC Pharmacy Students and Young Rotarians (Rotaracts).

BCC students also participated in the first round of testing at the West Terrace Primary School, last Wednesday, March 2.

Ms. Alleyne, who congratulated these students on “an excellent job” and their willingness and professionalism, stressed: “At the Barbados Community College, we recognise that educational outcomes at the tertiary level are intricately dependent on the outcomes at the primary and secondary levels, and consequently, the College must be involved in addressing any deficiencies at those levels, where we have the requisite resources.”

Adding that one of the institution’s goals for the upcoming financial year was to increase community engagement activities, she said they were pleased to partner with the Rotary Club of Barbados West on the hearing project, which is vital to improving both the health and education outcomes of students at the primary school level.

The Principal noted that the project enhanced the RTT programme by providing the current cohort of students with the opportunity to develop practical skills, which will equip them to assist the audiologist in continued hearing screening beyond the life of the project. 

“This partnership also has the potential for long-term benefits, through the building of capacity, as students will be continually trained to address the need for early identification of hearing loss in children. To this end, the BCC has consented to provide the requisite space and to organise training for any additional volunteers.

“At the BCC, we believe in inclusive education and that every child has the right to a quality education. We, therefore, embrace this project completely and will continue to support it through the training of volunteers as the need arises,” Ms. Alleyne added.

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