by Kareem Smith
Like many other sectors, education has not gone unscathed from the COVID-19 pandemic, with most, if not all academic institutions being forced to tailor their delivery of education. The situation has been no different for Brandon Dowell and his local tutoring agency – Bright Sparks. Despite the unprecedented situation, Brandon is determined to steer the agency through it, while trying to ensure that no child is left behind.
As a result, the young entrepreneur, along with local Social Media influencer Chris RK has embarked upon a series that will offer free virtual classes for Class 4 students as well as students embarking upon the next sitting of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC). According to Dowell, the initiative entitled Questions Barbados: The 11 Plus Edition, will seek to assist as many students as his online platform will accommodate.
“During the COVID-19 period, we would have noticed many persons unable to fulfill their commitment to the extra academic sessions that kids require. So as a result, the initiative is designed to allow us to give back to persons in the way that we know best, which is to educate,” Dowell told Barbados TODAY.
Meanwhile, Chris RK, a popular figure on the local social media landscape with over 30 thousand followers across Instagram and Facebook has come on board to add a bit of fun and dynamism to the project, with a comedic twist similar to his popular Questions Barbados series.
For Brandon, the idea to reach out and partner with Chris RK on this initiative came to mind for a number of reasons.
“Chris, like myself, is very passionate about education and giving back to the local community. So, we thought we could combine our passion, with his comedic talents and ability to grasp a large audience so we can give back to as many students as possible,” he explained.
Given the challenges that the pandemic has brought about for the business sector, he believes partnerships, especially creative ones such as his are vital.
“I think they are not only useful but necessary. I think that common goals but separate initiatives can reduce our efficiency in achieving them. Maybe it is time we work more with our brothers and or sisters in business.”
In addition to Questions Barbados: The 11 Plus Edition, the three-year-old tutoring agency has had to restructure some of its services and strengthen its approach with others.
Known for providing online and face-to-face classes in various subjects and for various ages, Dowell admits that it has not been business as usual.
“We looked at different factors other than just saying we need to do more academics. We took a step back to revolutionise our products to really ensure that we keep the mental health and emotional state of the student in mind as we navigate these dynamic times.”
With the sessions expected to occur on a weekly basis until the end of the first term, Brandon is also encouraging like-minded individuals and entities to get in touch to extend and strengthen