Softer side of army

de of army Private David Maynard giving guidance to one of the children.
de of army
Private David Maynard giving guidance to one of the children.

When one thinks of the army, one more often than not, would conjure up images of guns, bullets and marching boots. But the Barbados Defence Force is also deeply involved in the social and academic life of citizens.

Since 2007, the BDF has been conducting annual pre-secondary school IT summer courses at its computer training lab at St. Ann’s Fort, The Garrison, St. Michael.

Today, 28 children were presented with certificates for their participation in one of those courses, which ended this afternoon, following a two-week session.

Coordinator of the programme, Captain Gale Morgan told Barbados TODAY the children, who are wards of the military, civilian and cadet staff, were exposed to practical elements of content animation, the fundamentals of information technology, basic computer repairs, Windows 7, Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft Power Point 2010, Internet Explorer 10 and Mavis Beacon Keyboarding.

Morgan explained that these summer courses were aimed at preparing children to transition from primary to secondary school, while equiping them with basic IT skills.

“To date, approximately 150 children have attended this summer training since its inception. This year, 28 children between the ages of eight and 13 years old were awarded certificates … for successfully completing the course,” the army officer added.

She pointed out that the classes were divided into morning and evening sessions — eight to 11 year olds in the early portion and the 12 and 13 year old participants thereafter.

“This initiative is in support of the BDF’s mandate to contribute towards national development,” asserted Captain Morgan.

She explained that all of this would not have been possible without the continued contribution of the Canadian Government, which donated computers, chairs as well as IT software and other hardware.

The senior soldier announced that a new interest had been generated in content animation across North America, where movie makers such as Disney had been outsourcing portions of their production so various countries could take on a particular aspect.

She said she believed the BDF course would give the youngsters a start in this direction, should Barbados be afforded such an opportunity in the future.

The officer said too, that since 1999 the army had been training public servants in advanced elements of Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint. She disclosed that to date, the BDF had trained 950 government workers. (EJ)

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