The Student Revolving Loan Fund (SRLF) has made a major donation to the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, boosting its efforts to help needy students with electronic devices to aid in their learning experience.
The SRLF donated 90 laptops valued at approximately $100,000 to the Ministry on Thursday at its Constitution Road, St Michael location.
Administrative Manager of the SRLF Ambrose Johnson recalled that when the idea to make a donation to the Ministry was floated by staff, it was taken to the board which immediately approved it.
“I remember the board saying that the donation should be seen as an investment in our young people. This perspective is consistent with the objective of the SRLF because what we do is to encourage persons to get loans, as our taglines say, so they can invest in themselves. As a state-owned enterprise, I am particularly pleased that we can make this donation,” he said.
A determination will be made by ministry officials where the 45 Lenovo and 45 HP laptops and cases would be distributed, but they gave the assurance that they would go to the most vulnerable and the distribution would be done in collaboration with the principals at the primary schools.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Chair of the SRLF Betty Alleyne-Headley told Barbados TODAY she was aware of the major impact the pandemic was having on the ministry and the country.
“So when we found out that teachers and students were short of devices in order to be able to operate online… we thought that we could assist students and teachers,” she said.
“You would have also heard in Parliament last week where the Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw also indicated that the Government made a significant contribution towards the purchase of devices for teachers and students. So it is a significant effort of the Ministry of Education to ensure that online learning and online instruction can happen in short order and that no child essentially will be left behind,” she added.
Thanking the SRLF for its massive donation, Senator Dr Romel Springer, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, recalled that the state-owned agency has been assisting students in Barbados for the past 43 years.
“During its existence, the Student Revolving Loan Fund has approved loans in excess of $325 million, enabling more than 14, 000 Barbadian students to pursue a diversity of programmes of the highest international standards in various parts of the world, with the aim of developing a cadre of trained and qualified professionals who would be well equipped to assist in nation building,” he said.
He used the occasion to appeal to those with outstanding loans to repay them. “Notwithstanding that the Student Revolving Loan Fund is a commercial state-owned enterprise belonging to the Government and the people of Barbados, it can only remain viable and fulfil its mandate of providing loans to deserving Barbadians on concessionary terms if those who have benefited from it honour their moral and legal responsibility of repaying outstanding funds in a timely manner,” he said.
Springer said the $100, 000 in laptops would go a long way to assist those who need it, as the ministry seeks to provide electronic devices to students “from needy or indigent households”.