Heritage Petroleum Company CFO Nigel Campbell passes a keyboard to COSTAATT board vice chairman, Dr Rita Pemberton during a handing over ceremony on Wednesday. Heritage donated 100 computers to COSTAATT. Looking on is COSTAATT’s VP of student affairs, Dr Camille Samuel and director of technology service Vejai Sammy.

Close to 100 students of the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT), whose classes transitioned to online delivery mode because of COVID-19, are benefitting from a donation of computers made by the Heritage Petroleum Company.

COSTAATT pivoted many of its classes to online delivery, in two phases, after Government announced the shutdown of all schools on March 13, in a bid to curb the spread of the pandemic.

As the school shutdown extended, it meant that a number of students who had no access to computers at home were left with no choice but to withdraw from classes.

That changed on Wednesday, when COSTAATT’S board’s vice chairperson, Dr Rita Pemberton and vice president, student affairs, Dr Camille Samuel, led a team of COSTAATT employees to Heritage Petroleum’s office to collect the PCs and thank the company for helping to bridge the digital divide.

“It’s a very important gesture and we are grateful for the generosity of Heritage Petroleum,” Dr Pemberton said, adding that “we will now have more people completing their learning.”

She affirmed that it was a heartening reflection of the level of generosity that still exists in the nation.

It was a sentiment echoed by Dr Samuel.

“Students are going to be extremely pleased by this initiative. In fact, not only will they be able to complete their studies, it will help students to continue their connection with us. During this time you can feel isolated…now they can navigate these turbulent waters with us.”

Heritage’s chief financial officer, Nigel Campbell, explained the rationale behind the company’s donation: “COVID-19 has disrupted so many aspects of our daily routines; for many students this means lack of access to the necessary tools for online learning.

“Education is an important element of our Corporate Social Responsibility programme, and so today’s donation is aligned with that focus. We sincerely hope that it will bring some measure of relief to the students of COSTAATT, who require the assistance.”

The computers are being distributed on a loan arrangement to students across various programmes, who are in desperate need of them to continue programmes of study at the college.