Vineet Ramsarran

TOP BOY: Presentation College (Chaguanas) pupil Vineet Ramsarran gives a “thumbs-up” after receiving his laptop at yesterday’s presentation ceremony at the Ministry of Education on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain. Ramsarran was the top placed boy in the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam. —Photo: ROBERT TAYLOR

Keeping their promise, Unicomer Trinidad Ltd gifted eight more pupils with laptops for their achievement at the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) 2020.

Last week, the company, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, donated three new laptops to the top three SEA pupils to aid with having to adapt to the new distance e-learning as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

However, when Unicomer learnt that the ministry decided to also acknowledge an additional eight pupils for their top performances, including the top male pupil, top performers from schools with pupils of special needs and the top performers from schools placed on academic watch, they promised the ministry that all 11 pupils would receive laptops.

Yesterday, during the laptop distribution ceremony held at the Ministry of Education head office, St Vincent Street, Port of Spain, Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said, “This is unprecedented. Usually you will have an award ceremony and what you have to present, you will give them to those who you want to honour and that will be the end of it. But today, we have a corporate citizen of Trinidad and Tobago who has gone even further. Because when he came to our last ceremony and he saw these beautiful young faces and he recognised that they were only giving three, this corporate citizen said, ‘No way. No way could we not also make a contribution to the lives of all of the others that were here’.”

“School is about to begin for most of our Standard Five students who are heading into form one. It’s going to be a new experience and worse yet you’re not going to be able to be face-to-face and interact with your classmates and your teachers and so on and that in itself brings a little challenge with it. But, with every challenge there’s the opportunity to surmount it. With every hurdle, there’s the opportunity to soar over it. And I am certain that the children we have here and all of those who are going to start their new journey will soar over those hurdles and the help from corporate Trinidad and Tobago with the support of the ministry, support of your teachers, your parents, we will make this transition together. And we will be stronger for it. And when we are able to resume face to face with a new blended learning concept integrated into our curriculum delivery, we would look back at 2020 and say difficult as it was, it was necessary in some ways to push us forward and transform us in a way that we may not have transformed if we did not face these challenges,” she added.

Minister in the Ministry of Education Lisa Morris-Julian said, “So many countries, so many schools, so many children have been affected. The response generated by the ‘Adopt-a-school’ programme in this nation has clearly and firmly indicated that we are determined as a village to leave no child behind, not one single child. Again I acknowledge the minister’s vision in this. Once again we are here to celebrate the partnership between corporate Trinidad and Tobago and the Ministry of Education. Unicomer Ltd has risen to the occasion to shine a very bright ray of hope on all the students who are more than deserving of these digital devices.”

Technology vital to education

Unicomer’s managing director, Clive Fletcher, said, “Due to the unique challenges faced, these students are unlike those who would have excelled before them, I am sure that with the help of their parents, their guardians, well-wishers and their peers; they would have strategically chartered a course to ensure their ultimate success by studying regularly and implementing measures to curb their anxiety. At Unicomer Ltd we motivate our teams to grab the opportunities that present themselves. We would like to promote the same ideology with our future generations. In the midst of a global pandemic, the Ministry of Education and corporate Trinidad and Tobago has realised that technology plays a vital role in the education of our children. As we search for a solution, we are mitigating, we are adapting and our country is fighting. At Unicomer Ltd we are supporting this battle in every way possible. We will engage in opportunities once our resources allow to ensure that students who are most in need receive the help that they require to ensure their success. Today we would like to honour these students by presenting them with their own laptop courtesy of their friends at Unicomer Ltd. May the tools we provide to you today, be the reason for your success tomorrow. Congratulations to all.”

Speaking with the Express after the ceremony, SEA 2020 top male pupil Vineet Ramsarran said, “I feel honoured and ecstatic.”

Ramsaran, who passed for Presentation College, Chaguanas, attended Eniath’s Montessori and Prep School in Chaguanas.

Ramsarran’s mother said, “I feel ecstatic just like him. It is a big help thanks to Unicomer for this present, helping them to further their studies.”

Shanira Beebakhee, a top performer of St Helena Hindu School, said, “I feel thankful.”

Beebakhee’s mother, Sharana Ragoonanan said, “We are very proud of her. She did a lot of hard work and she really put the work in and deserves it.”

The Ministry of Education (MoE) continues to invite corporate citizens of Trinidad and Tobago as well as anyone willing to contribute to provide electronic devices for pupils in need.

This initiative is called the Adopt-A-School programme, which is part of a new project entitled “No child left behind”.

The project is a collaboration between MoH and various stakeholders to address the impact of Covid-19 on the education system in Trinidad and Tobago.

According to MoH, the Adopt-A-School programme allows people to “adopt a school and help restore the education sector from the ravages of the pandemic”.

The ministry also said that benefits of the programme included “saving our nation’s children, improved school-community relations, improved corporate image, enabling better quality education and enabling a more educated workforce”.

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