Lifeline to education
An educator and former politician says there’s an urgent need for Barbadians, especially those who have benefited from this island’s free education system, to provide financial assistance to people who want to further their studies but cannot afford to do so.
Former Speaker of the House Ishmael Roett, who is principal of the Barbados O Level Institute says it’s time for those who got help along the way to “give back to the society”.
In an interview with the SATURDAY?SUN, he noted that there were a large number of people who attended the O Level Institute but could not afford to pay their tuition and examination fees.
“A person’s level of education should not be determined by if that person has money or not. There is an urgent need for companies, and businesses to get involved in sponsoring students who do not have the financial resources,” he said.
“I am not only referring to those students who wish to attend the O Level Institute, but also those students at the primary and secondary school level.”
Roett said although the institute provided over 100 scholarships to students, that was not enough to cover the costs of all underprivileged students.
In some cases, he revealed, some students could not even afford bus fare or lunch money, and this was having a negative impact on their studies.
Speaking yesterday after Dr Kurt Lambert’s donation to the institute of $5 000, which afforded ten students the opportunity to continue their studies at the institute, Roett made the point that more initiatives such as those were needed.
Roett revealed that in the history of the O Level Institute ’s existence, not once had people who could not afford to pay their tuition fees been prevented from attending classes.
In most cases, he admitted, those students who had stopped attending because of the lack of financial resources were called and invited back to the school and a payment plan suited to them was designed.
Roett was of the view that whenever the less fortunate received help, they almost always took advantage of the opportunity.
“Whenever those students get that opportunity, you find that they grab it with both hands.
They don’t fool around, and they don’t waste that lifeline which they have been provided with. They buckle down and they take advantage of the most of that opportunity,” he said.