Barbados Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw has reminded students that they hold important responsibilities when it comes to giving back to civil society, Barbados Today reported on Dec. 6.

Bradshaw’s remarks came at Friday’s launch of the Giveback Programme at the Barbados Community College. The program has undergraduate students from a majority of the tertiary institutions on the island volunteering services to several public and private companies.

Bradshaw said that with government investing large amounts of money each year into educating people on the island, it was only fair that students, in some form or fashion, volunteer during some of their downtime, in order to push the country forward.

“We recognize that we just couldn’t be a government that gave a handout, and in turn try to beat into you a sense of responsibility. We recognize that we had to inspire you to join with us in understanding how important giving back education and educational opportunities are, but equally that you understand as well that this is not something that we are just trying to get you to do because we put aside funds to pay for [education]. This is something that is really who we are as a people,” Bradshaw said.

She added: “We, perhaps, have moved away a lot from that sense of civic responsibility and giving back in communities; Barbados has changed so much over the course of the last few decades that people tend to focus more on themselves. They tend to focus more on their families, on their individual wants and needs, as opposed to looking at society as a collective. So we wanted to make sure that through this program, that we inspire you as students to start to think about ways from now, that you can be able to create a Barbados that you want to live in.”

Principal of BCC, Annette Alleyne, said it was important for students to engage in voluntarism as it helps develop their work ethic for future employment.

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This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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