Secondary school students were given an insight into the role of the Commonwealth in the lives of people the world over.

They were given this update today while receiving a copy of The Royal Commonwealth Barbados Branch exercise book at a distribution ceremony at Queen???s Park.

Acting Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harry Husbands told the students the Commonwealth played a pivotal role in helping countries with trade negotiations, encouraging women???s leadership, building small business sectors, supporting youth participation at all levels of the society and providing experts to perform various functions including the drafting of laws and regulations.

He added: ???Events also include the granting of scholarships and Barbados has benefitted tremendously over the years since its membership of the Commonwealth from these Commonwealth scholarships.???

Other activities also include essay writing competitions, conferences on a variety of areas and sporting events such as the well-known Commonwealth Games.

Explaining further, the Acting Education Minister said: ???The Royal Commonwealth International system is a valuable source of contacts, advice, mutual support and fellowship for its supporters. It currently has 12,000 members worldwide and is growing; it draws from every Commonwealth nation integrating individuals, branches and regions within civil society, government and commerce.???

The secondary students also heard that the donation of books provided an excellent opportunity to form further links between the Royal Commonwealth Society and the young people of Barbados. ???Students can use this as a wonderful opportunity to gather valuable knowledge about this very important institution,??? he pointed out, urging them to put it to ???good use??? as they undertook further research of the Commonwealth.

???I challenge all to explore ways that they can become more intimately involved in the operations of Commonwealth Society, Barbados Branch and be beneficiaries of the wonderful opportunities available,??? Senator Husbands urged the students, who were the first to receive the book today.

Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Barbados Branch, Dame Maizie Barker-Welch said this organisation was started in 1985 and became a charity in 2011. ???We help to foster information and knowledge about the Commonwealth and the exercise book is a good beginning,??? she said, while noting that it was the brainchild of Sheryl Sealy-Belle, one of their members.

Echoing similar sentiments as Senator Husbands, Dame Maizie emphasised the need for teachers to educate their charges on important parts of the charter contained in the exercise book and of the Commonwealth and the Barbados Branch as a whole.

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