The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training’s G-Suite tech drive received a further boost with the donation of 200 electronic devices from telecommunications company, FLOW.
The Amazon Fire tablets, with rugged protective cases, were officially handed over to the Ministry during a brief ceremony at its Constitution Road, St. Michael offices, today.
FLOW is one of many donors which have sought to assist Government with its efforts to ensure all primary and secondary school students are able to participate in the online classroom. The drive was started last March, in response to the disruption of face-to-face classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Welcoming the donation, Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, explained that the devices would be distributed among primary school students. According to her, recipients have already been identified from the St. Lucy, St. Margaret’s, Deacons and Eagle Hall Primary Schools.
“These schools will be the first to receive the donated devices based on requests collected from students in need. I am sure that the representatives of the four schools are elated and very thankful to FLOW for their assistance in ensuring their students will be able to access the online classroom and benefit from education.”
Dr. Archer-Bradshaw noted that prior to today, FLOW had contributed computers, and 50 mobile wireless internet devices with 10 gigabyte data plans to support students without internet access, to the “successful” tech drive.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry, Senator Dr. Romel Springer, also thanked the telecommunications company, noting that the pandemic has had a serious impact on the education sector, displacing over 40,000 students.
He stated that Government was cognisant that “despite our greatest efforts, the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in our society were faced with many obstacles and experienced difficulties in having equitable accommodation in the virtual space because of the technological gap in Barbados”.
Senator Springer said Government was committed to combatting this issue through working with various partners, including corporate Barbados and private individuals, to provide the assistance where needed.
FLOW’s Senior Manager, Communications, South and Dutch Caribbean, Trinidad, Marilyn Sealy, said the company was happy to aid in the transition to the virtual classroom, through the provision of devices to those in need, and the upgrading of internet speed for teachers at no charge.
“We will continue to do our best to equip our students with the necessary tools needed to participate in online learning,” Ms. Sealy pledged.