The National Transformation Initiative (NTI) has secured free access for students using its online learning platform training.nti.org.bb and website nti.org.bb.
That zero-rated status was granted by both telecommunications providers, FLOW and Digicel, to the NTI. This gracious gesture acknowledges that accessing online learning opportunities should not be constrained by the costs associated with increased data consumption.
“NTI’s initial plans for face-to-face training had to be changed radically with the onset of COVID-19. With its safety protocols, the country had to switch to emergency remote teaching (ERT) and we decided to shift to professional eLearning,” NTI Director Dr. Allyson Leacock explained.
“In many ways, this approach aligned well with the Prime Minister’s vision for NTI to reach everyone in our workforce as eLearning is designed to be accessible to all in a way that face-to-face does not. We needed to ensure that thousands of displaced Barbadians could have affordable access to our online training. We had already determined that all courses on the NTI platform would be free for everyone, and with over 1 000 Barbadians already on our NTI learning platform today, we continue to encourage everyone to sign up to retrain and retool,” she said.
“We express our deep appreciation to our partners in the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology (MIST) and both telecoms providers for facilitating this zero-rated status for the benefit of all NTI eLearners. Our commitment remains to those who have lost jobs, are underemployed, those whose household incomes have been reduced since the pandemic began in Barbados as well as all those wishing to retool for the future world of work.”
Zero-rating means that users who register to take online courses on the NTI’s website will not be charged for the data they use to access learning materials.
The NTI launched online courses in early June with Online Safety Essentials and that was followed in mid-July by a Core Skills course designed to help users cope with change, including changes to careers affected by the negative impacts of the coronavirus. The Core Skills course, part of a joint initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations (MLSP) and the International Labour Organization, is the first of three short courses being provided as part of their Employability Project, with two remaining courses, Occupational Safety and Health and Entrepreneurship, scheduled to follow. Other courses, including citizenship, sign language, and an introduction to coding, will also soon be available.
NTI is part of Government’s Retraining and Retooling programme (ReRe), itself a construct within The Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) Programme.
“The Re-Re Program, which involves the Retooling, Empowering, Retraining and Enfranchising of workers has to be at the core of the International Monetary Funded (IMF) program over the next four years. This is the next phase of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) program that is a comprehensive retraining of Barbadian workers in an effort to make the workforce “globally fit for purpose”.
– The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley Q.C. M.P. Prime Minister of Barbados September 18, 2018