As part of its “Mission Week” of activities, Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) through the Cable & Wireless Charitable Foundation (CWCF) gifted a US$100,000 grant to support the Ministry of Education with the development of a virtual learning program through One on One Education Services Limited.
BTC Chief Executive Officer Garfield Sinclair said, “This is truly a significant day in our history. We are responding to a critical need for over 1,500 students affected by the hurricane, as well as assisting the Ministry of Education with its overarching goals to modernize and transform education in the country.”
This initiative is being provided through BTC Study, a website that provides an interactive virtual school experience. This will supplement classroom learning and will enable students to catch up on instructional time lost following Hurricane Dorian. Students will receive extra classes, digital textbooks and other learning resources. Teachers participating in the program will record their educational instruction and live stream classes to students. Impacted students from K3 through to grade 12 will benefit from this initiative.
Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said, “The Ministry of Education is delighted to partner with BTC in the furtherance of its digitization efforts. The One-on-One Program will provide a significant thrust in enabling positive instructional outcomes for students across the Bahamas, especially in an era where individualized and experiential learning has become the focus of today’s student-centered education. We appreciate and celebrate the ingenious efforts by BTC in lending its considerable resources in helping to transform the educational landscape of The Bahamas.”
The Sandals Foundation, a key partner in this effort, funded training for fifty teachers and procured five hundred tablets for students. Heidi Clarke, executive director of the Sandals Foundation, said the program will significantly support the resiliency of learners.
“These students have experienced unimaginable challenges and changes. It was important for us to do what we could to ensure their academic progress was not derailed. These tablets will provide the ideal support that teachers and students need to stay on track with their counterparts,” she said.
“Education is the most important tool through which students, young and old can emerge from trying circumstances and create a strong future. These are the investments that drive the work of the Sandals Foundation as we help Caribbean nationals achieve their best,” she added.
Ricardo Allen, chief executive officer of One on One Educational Services Limited, and his team will be leading the on-the-ground activities in The Bahamas. He is extremely excited about the prospects of playing a part in helping to provide personalized and on-demand tuition to Bahamas students. Allen commented, “It has always been our belief that education is perhaps the most dynamic way of advancing the welfare of a nation. In the face of the catastrophic hurricane experienced earlier this year, for many students that reality was significantly impacted. In response to the unspeakable disaster, in collaboration with BTC and our other stakeholders, we have put together a comprehensive series of activity which will no doubt positively impact students and their scholastic performance for this academic year. Our vision really is to continue our work with the Ministry of Education, Sandals and the Cable & Wireless Foundation, in whatever way we can, to empower students, parents and teachers through technology.”
Students and teachers have full access to the BTC Study website free of charge in its introductory phase. The Cable & Wireless Charitable Foundation earmarked US$500,000 toward immediate and longer-term relief and restoration efforts for The Bahamas. The foundation provided humanitarian aid including over 55,000 pounds of groceries and care packages which included smart phones, prepaid SIM cards and personal care items. A US$25,000 grant was provided to World Central Kitchen, which continues to provide hot meals daily in Grand Bahama. A US$50,000 grant was also issued to the Rotary Club of Grand Bahama for the treatment of the local water plant and NEMA also received a US$75,000 grant for recovery and restoration efforts.
This year marks the Cable & Wireless Charitable Foundation’s 5th Annual “Mission Day”, usually held during the month of November. The 2019 program was expanded to include a week of activities. The objective is to enable employees from across the business to volunteer in their local communities, to demonstrate the company’s commitment to the communities in which it operates. This year’s Mission Day is dedicated to raising funds for The Bahamas’ post-Dorian restoration efforts.
On November 19, volunteers from Miami, Barbados, Jamaica, Anguilla, Colombia and Panama visited Grand Bahama to volunteer at World Central Kitchen, preparing and distributing food to residents in need. On November 20, teams in New Providence assisted the Bahamas Red Cross. On Thanksgiving Day, employees from Grand Bahama and New Providence will participate in a Meals on Wheels program, providing hot meals to retired BTC team members, the sick and shut in.