(Stock Photo)

Recognizing the need to ensure that Class Four students will be safe while returning to their classrooms next week, Government’s ‘Energy SOEs’ (state owned enterprises) have donated face masks to the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training (METVT).

This morning, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, along with the Chairmen of the statutory corporations under his ministerial portfolio – the National Petroleum Corporation (NPC), the Barbados National Oil Company (BNOC) and the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL) – presented Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, with face masks for students in their catchment areas, who will be returning to school come Monday, June 15.

The donation includes the provision of two face masks per student, as well as for the teachers and principals, of the St. Bartholomew, Luther Thorne, St. Catherine’s, St. Philip, Reynold Weekes and Gordon Walters primary schools.

The donation also included 100 disposal face masks to each of the six schools, in the event that a child forgets its mask at home or another unforeseen circumstance.

Dubbing the agencies ‘Energy SOEs’, Mr. Abrahams stated: “I am very proud of the work and the generosity shown by the statutory corporations which fall under the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources. 

“The NPC, BNOC and the BNTCL have recognized that although we’re in the oil and energy sector, it is all one Government and it is important for us to ensure that where we can, we assist the other arms of Government.”

He praised the METVT’s thrust to promote e-learning by providing students with tablets and with all the educational technology that they need to help them to weather the ‘storm’ of transitioning to e-learning.

The Minister also commended the efforts of the Ministry, as well as those of the teachers, who too had to adjust to the use of G-Suite technology in educating the future generations of Barbados.

Acknowledging that the METVT made the decision to have certain students return to the classroom, Mr. Abrahams stated: “It is necessary for them [students] to actually have teacher-driven education, to go back to the classroom, to be able to get that one-on-one hands-on tutoring, because there is really no substitute for it. Even if we get to complete e-learning, there’s still going to be a place for hands-on teaching.”

During her brief remarks, Mrs. Adamson expressed thanks and appreciation to the SOEs on behalf of the Ministry of Education, the children and staff of the schools who would be receiving the face masks, remarking that they “will go a long way”.

In May, the BNOCL donated tablets to Gordon Walters Primary and the NPC to Luther Thorne Memorial, and the ‘Energy SOES’ have pledged to donate additional tablets to the Ministry of Education in coming months.

Staff of the SOEs have also aided by donating food items which provided 23 food hampers to families in need.  They are also planning to become the corporate sponsor of the ‘Then What Initiative’, which will see them commit to feeding five families for three months. 


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