CEO Lisa Agard speaks at the prize giving ceremony for the U-Report National Secondary Schools Competition a project of UNICEF at the Bmobile’s lounge area, Queen’s Park Oval on May 16 – Photo by Jeff Mayers
The U-Report National Secondary Schools Competition; a project of UNICEF in partnership with the Gender and Child Affairs Division, the Ministry of Education and Bmobile hosted their prize-giving ceremony on Tuesday at the Bmobile lounge area, Queen’s Park Oval.
Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, Bmobile CEO Lisa Agard said that the “Future of the Nation is in Technology. Bmobile is a firm believer in the power of technology to drive positive change and is steadfast in its mandate towards smart country development. Presently 90 per cent of the households in Trinidad and Tobago have access to broadband communication.”
Agard also spoke about Artificial Intelligence (A.I) especially in the area of education through apps such as ChatGPT. She quoted a World Economic Forum report which forecasts that 65 per cent of today’s students will be employed in jobs which do not yet exist. With the rapidly-changing technological landscape, she highlighted the importance of preparing students for the future and the need to tailor the educational infrastructure and curriculum to support this initiative.
Speaking from an educational standpoint, Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy underscored the need to amplify the voices of the youth and denounced the common saying “children must be seen, not heard.” She advocated for the inclusion of children during the decision-making process and strategy formulation, as their inputs are vital and will help policy-makers formulate more informed decisions.
The U-report initiative, which was launched in Trinidad and Tobago in 2022, is a social monitoring tool for community participation designed to address issues that young people care about. There are over 8000 U-reporters in Trinidad and Tobago. With a tagline “Voice Matters”, the U-report national secondary school competition aims to amplify these voices and spotlight the issues important to them. Topping the competition was Asja Girls College Tunapuna with a reported 89 per cent student participation. In second place was Vessigny Government Secondary with a reported 56 per cent student participation and in third place was Naparima Girls College with 52 per cent student participation.