Tertiary students can now sign up to participate in the national Give Back programme.
The initiative, which is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training (METVT), was launched Wednesday night at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus.
Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, said Government’s Give Back policy will see those students who receive free tertiary education giving back by logging 100 hours for part-time studies and 150 hours for full-time studies in community service.
Participating institutions are The UWI., Barbados Community College and Erdiston Teachers’ Training College.
The METVT has partnered with the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology (MIST) to develop an App where these individuals can register; log their hours; and give feedback on their experience while volunteering with a number of governmental, non-governmental and community-based organizations.
Ms. Bradshaw told those present that she expected the initiative would become the catalyst for a national movement, which would inspire Barbadians of all walks of life to give back.
“Presently, we have within the school curriculum at secondary schools the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC), where students are already involved in aspects of giving back. I think now that we have it at the tertiary level, it is something that we have to start to deploy within our primary schools as well.
“Persons who are participating in the [We Gatherin’] 2020 initiative … it should be an inspiration for those who are overseas who are coming home to be able to participate in giving back to country and to community,” Minister Bradshaw asserted.
The Education Minister charged tertiary institutions with the responsibility of encouraging, guiding and motivating the students to become enrolled in the programme. Students may also volunteer at these institutions to log their hours.
She urged the participating entities to see themselves not only as providing a normal service, but to also see how they could utilize students to help build out their organizations. She further encouraged those agencies which have not yet signed up to do so. Students and entities may register at www.gov.bb/giveback or www.givebackbarbados.com.
Ms. Bradshaw told students to embrace the programme and encourage others to get on board. She lauded those who had already started to give back, singling out the MIST’s Digital Ambassadors Programme.
“Again, I think that speaks volumes about the intention of the Government and the Ministry to engage young people in a more meaningful way, using the technology that has become commonplace in what we do on a daily basis.
“The Ministry of Education has partnered with the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology (MIST) to develop an App where these individuals can register; log their hours; and give feedback on their experience while volunteering with a number of governmental, non-governmental and community-based organizations.”
“I am really pleased to hear the feedback that many of you already started to do some give back … in the process of your student life. I really cannot reiterate enough how important giving back is … the rewards will be there in terms of the betterment of our country and of our society in the long term.”
The Minister said other territories had implemented some form of give back, but she wanted Barbados “to be the most successful at doing this” as it has always been a leader in education.
“I believe in the last couple of years because of differences in outlook we fell a little behind. But I want to give you all the assurance that as young people who really will be part of the next frontier in terms of developing this country that we cannot do this without you. However far you go in terms of achieving your qualifications, it is about looking back down the ladder to see who you can bring up,” Ms. Bradshaw emphasized.
Both Minister Bradshaw and Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, Senator Kay McConney, signed a Give Back Certificate of Partnership, and participated in a symbolic handover of the Give Back App during the launch.