Eighty additional primary school pupils from across the south-eastern community of Mayaro have been given an educational advantage through the presentation of tablet computers by BP Trinidad and Tobago (BPTT).

This forms part of the energy company’s continued coronavirus (Covid-19) response initiatives and for this year, BPTT has already distributed 150 tablets and 25 laptop computers to pupils and organisations across Trinidad and sister isle, Tobago.

Outlining the company’s approach was BPTT’s community liaison officer, Matthew Pierre, “Investment in education has been, and will always remain, a top priority for BPTT. From support of pre-schools to our Brighter Prospects tertiary level scholarship programme, we will continue to invest in the greatest resource this nation has—our young people. As with our Net Zero ambitions and focus on renewable energy, this initiative is yet another investment in the future.”

“We worked with the schools and identified Standard Four and Five students who did not have access to devices with which to participate in online learning. The response from the teachers and parents is overwhelmingly positive because these students are now empowered to prepare for their exams and fulfil their enormous potential,” Pierre added.

In recognition of Covid-19 precautions, a small ceremony was held at the Mayaro Resource Centre on November 3, where ambassador students from each of the local primary schools were presented with devices. Principals and other school representatives were also given the additional tablets to distribute to the identified pupils.

Standard Four pupil at St Thomas Mayaro RC School, Azariah Phillip, expressed her delight at having been presented with a tablet, “I really love school but I had to use a phone to do work and it was very difficult. With this tablet I can do my classes and research much better. I will be able to do much more work and when I do well in school, I will be able to achieve my dream of being a veterinarian.”

Azariah’s dad, Christopher, added: “My daughter is really brilliant and this tablet will help her to realise her full potential. With this learning tool, her studies will become much more involved and interactive and that will inspire her to greater success. I am really happy and grateful for this wonderful gift and as a parent and member of the Mayaro community, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to BPTT,”.

This initiative adds on to BPTT’s overall Covid-19 response, which has providing over $1 million in help for the most vulnerable populations across Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to presenting devices, the company’s efforts included seven food banks and grants to various non-governmental and community-based organisations as well as a ‘meals on wheels’ initiative in Mayaro. Thus far, these measures have provided hampers and other much-needed relief assistance to well over 5,000 people.

Helping to coordinate the efforts to identify students across the community was Mohan Sadal, principal of the Mayaro Government Primary School: “We are living in the digital age and Covid-19 only served to fast-track the move towards technology-based learning. With no access to proper devices, these students had to depend on learning packages that did not afford them the benefit of real-time teacher interaction. We really have to commend BPTT for levelling the playing field and giving these students a real advantage with which to learn and achieve their best.”

Testifying to the impact that BPTT’s laptop and tablet initiative has had was Kyrell Francois, who received a tablet prior to the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam in August: “The device that BPTT gave me really transformed by ability to study and learn leading up to SEA. Because of it, I was able to put in a lot of extra work and I passed for my first choice of Cowen Hamilton Secondary School. The tablet transformed my life and I’m still using it to do my Form One work. I am glad that more students are benefiting from BPTT’s vision and generosity.”

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