(Barbados Nation) Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley thanked Bajan superstar and entrepreneur Robyn ‘Rihanna’ Fenty for the donation of 4 000 tablets to help bridge the digital divide of the haves and have nots in Barbados.
Barbados, like other countries, was forced to move to digital education platforms as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused the closure of schools. Measures to restrict movement and curb spread of the virus were implemented in March.
The tablets were donated through the Clara Lionel Foundation and the Jack Dorsey Start Small Foundation to assist students. The Ministry of Education had fallen short of its goal to acquire 10 000 tablets as indicated on the back page of today’s Daily Nation.
“We all know that education is the most important gift that we can give any child and to the extent that we can ensure that there is no digital divide among all of our students; that is our duty,” Mottley (right) said in a recorded address today.
Mottley repeated her now familiar: “we can always do it better when we do it together, we are always stronger when we work together”.
The Prime Minister also mentioned Rihanna’s other philanthropic efforts: “Your Bajan-ness, your commitment to this country, your commitment to this region in the context of building climate resilience has not gone unnoticed. The world has watched you be that extraordinary Bajan, that extraordinary global citizen that has not forgotten that their roots are right here in Barbados,” she said.
Mottley thanked Rihanna and those who work with the Clara Lionel Foundation for continuing to assist and give a voice to the voiceless.
The Prime Minister said there is a place here for Rihanna as others also want to say “thank you and we love you”.
Agencies such as United Nations Development Fund have said that the pandemic has caused gains in education to be lost as all children do not have access to electronic devices and Internet services to facilitate digital teaching and learning.
“The world has seen many crises over the past 30 years, including the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09. Each has hit human development hard but, overall, development gains accrued globally year-on-year,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
“COVID-19 – with its triple hit to health, education, and income – may change this trend.”