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TSTT CEO Ronald Walcott

bmobile joins MOE to honour top SEA performers

TSTT Corporate Communications

Press Release

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad – September 13, 2021


bmobile joined parents, principals and students as they gathered at the Ministry of Education, Port of Spain, on 9th September 2021 to recognise and reward the top performers in this year's Secondary Entrance Exams (SEA). This function follows a challenging year for school officials, teachers, administrators, and students who completed a historic final year virtually and remotely instead of in physical classrooms.

One interesting aspect of this year's recognition was the five-way tie for third place in the Top Three category. Top performer Kirsten Ramsaran of Rousillac Presbyterian was excited on hearing the news that she had copped the top spot. She has already set her eyes on considering a career in law as she often reads 'about people in local and international news who need the help of the law to win their cases.' The eloquent student also advised other students to strike a balance between work and play. "If you feel stressed, stay calm. Remember, don't worry, you will get through with everything," she advised. Scoring full marks in each of the three subject areas, she balanced her schoolwork with bouts of gaming on her Microsoft Xbox and is eager to settle into her new academic home at Naparima Girls' High School.

bmobile has awarded broadband internet connectivity for three years to these hardworking top performing students. Third place awardee Anya Ali like all others was excited to get home and enjoy the fruits of her labour, noting that she would put it to good use for research and studies at Secondary School but also to keep in touch with friends and classmates heading to different schools on the next stage of this journey.

As a long-standing partner, supporting the development of the nation’s youth and education, bmobile has been equipping SEA top performers with technology and connectivity for over six years, long before the mandatory implementation of online learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reza Hosein, Acting General Manager Wireless Solutions at TSTT was on hand at the ceremony and presented the Top Performers with their gift of connectivity. He explained the importance of the company's support, “As parents, guardians, and caregivers, we understand the near tectonic shift in education that had to happen for schooling and examinations to continue. As the native telecommunications company, we are proud of our steadfast commitment to support these diligent students as they embark on a new chapter of their lives."

Hosein added that, "We also recognise the work done by the Ministry and their support teams to ensure that there was minimised disruption to students despite the pandemic and are proud to partner with them year after year for these awards." bmobile was proud to announce an increase in the number of students recognised for SEA this year. Overall, twenty-one students from Trinidad and Tobago will be awarded with the gift of connectivity for up to three years compared to thirteen students annually over the previous years.

Second-placed awardee Vineetha Kattamanchi represented Maria Regina Grade School, Port of Spain and will be heading to St Joseph's Convent. She explained that preparing online for the exam was a challenging experience, but she looks forward to returning to regular schooling soon. "I miss physical school and I'm looking forward to returning to school. I like to swim; I compete and I've won medals. I didn't think I'd have won second place, I just hoped I'd pass for my first choice, I never expected this," she said.

One of the awardees (of a 5-way tie) in Third Place for 2021, Anya Ali of Specialist Learning Centre, St Augustine, was also surprised by her placement. "I knew I had done well, but I was still shocked by the news," she highlighted. She also enjoys reading mystery stories, and her mother, Diane, recounted bits of her essay for the exam, which was equal parts mystery and folklore. Anya also has some immediate ideas to recreate her exam entry and publish her stories locally, alongside her friends' contributions. She, like every other top awardee, is an avid reader.

Minister of Education, Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, delivered remarks highlighting the challenges faced in the academic year. The Minister detailed, "Due to the necessary closure to preserve the lives of all citizens during the COVID 19 pandemic, The Ministry of Education, over the past 18 months, instituted measures to preserve educational continuity with a particular focus on the examinations. These included: providing over 65,000 devices for teachers to carry out online classes, offering training to help up-skill teachers and providing Standard Five students in need, with devices and connectivity." The Minister also noted the Ministry procured 20,000 smart devices and 10,000 Mi-Fi devices for distribution and recognised the impact of the pandemic by expanding services in psycho-social counselling. As a reminder to the awardees in attendance, she also advised, "The SEA is one stage, an important one, but one of many," and urged attendees to 'reject the notion that school assignment prescribes the trajectory of your success' and instead focus on participation and opportunity.

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