Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, has reassured that Government is doing all it can to ensure no child is deprived of obtaining quality education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She was speaking yesterday during a ceremony at the Ministry’s Constitution Road, St. Michael offices, at which the ANSA McAL Group, through its Foundation, donated 100 tablets.
Noting that the current situation “has taught us that now more than ever we have to rely on technology”, Minister Bradshaw acknowledged the challenges experienced by students who did not have access to devices, as many schools have adopted a blended approach to teaching.
She described the donation as “further testimony of what can happen when true partnerships come together”, while commending the wider corporate sector for its assistance during the COVID-19 shutdown earlier this year.
Minister Bradshaw also took the opportunity to provide updates on the number of devices obtained thus far, as well as the status of the arrangement with the Government of Kenya.
“We have raised just over 8,500 devices to date, and this (donation) would add to the complement…. While the corporate sector is contributing, Government is also committed to the provision of devices. We’re in the process of finalising arrangements with Kenya to have over 21,000 devices on island,” she disclosed.
The Education Minister also urged recipients of devices to handle them with care, and to use them for the intended purpose, while encouraging parents and guardians to remind students of this.
She reiterated the need to teach them how to properly and safely navigate the digital world.
“What we have to do now is transition them to a better understanding of digital literacy, making sure that we provide them with the tools to know how to sensibly use these devices, so they don’t get up to negative activities…, that we also teach them the tools to become creators of content as opposed to consumers alone…. The world is really our oyster right now.”
Ms. Bradshaw also encouraged other donors to continue to assist the Ministry in its efforts to provide students with devices, noting that items would need to be replaced over time.
She also thanked the artistes who participated in the virtual regional benefit concert, One Yard, organised by the ANSA McAL, stating she was pleased they took the time to aid in the effort to raise funds to assist with the education sector, both locally and regionally.
Meanwhile, ANSA McAL’s representative and CEO of Byrdens Insurance, David Alleyne, said the group’s foundation was in the process of distributing tablets to the Ministries of Education throughout the region.
Also present at the presentation were Andre ‘DeeJay Puffy’ Parris, who represented the entertainment sector; Madison Newton, a student of Queen’s College, who represented the students of Barbados, and Rachel Pilgrim, Head of Marketing at ANSA McAL.