As schools across Barbados continue to merge online and in-person education, the Sandals Foundation is helping to ease the transition with the donation of 200 tablets.
Working closely with the Ministry of Education, Technology and Vocational Training, the Sandals Foundation recently presented several schools with Samsung Galaxy Tab A devices, which will be used to enhance the learning of predominantly Class 4 students.
In August, the Sandals Foundation launched the Lessons Alive campaign to help families across the Caribbean prepare for the new academic year. During the months of October and November, the Lessons Alive social media campaign was expanded to raise funds to purchase digital tablets for vulnerable primary school students across the region.
General Manager of Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados, Ramel Sobrino explained that “the Sandals Foundation continues to look for avenues to enhance education within our communities. The Lessons Alive campaign was derived from the needs observed among families as they try to cope with the changes and for some, the financial burdens, brought about by the move to online classes,” Sobrino said.
In accepting the donation, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Technology and Vocational Training Dr. Romel Springer said that according to UNICEF, about 166 million learners in Latin America and the Caribbean have been impacted by the global pandemic. He further noted that while Government’s immediate response was to implement an emergency teaching module, technology gaps were noticed amongst those in the community who were most marginalized.
He added that, to this end, Government and the Education Ministry embarked on an initiative where they partnered with corporate Barbados and social entities to acquire the devices needed to ensure every child gets the benefit from online teaching.
“This outpouring of support, whether in the form of tablets, laptops or other related devices, enables the Ministry of Education to provide much needed assistance to students from vulnerable households. I want to take this opportunity on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Technology and Vocational Training to thank the Sandals Foundation for the generous donation of these devices which will see us come a little closer to our goal,” said Dr. Springer.
Highlighting the importance of education and technology, Resort Manager Patrick Drake said these tablets will prepare young minds for the digital world. We have to prepare our children for the future, and like it or not, the future is here and it is now. So, we hope that our small start, in some small way, will make a difference. And that one day, one young lady or young man can look back and say I was able to access all the knowledge that was out there because I could connect online. That is our simple mission, to make a difference in the life of even one,” said Drake.