Most of us reading this blog will inherently understand the importance of a good education. We’re likely to have been fortunate enough to have had a good start in life, which has in turn enabled us to have a good career. Sadly this is not the case for everyone. According to current United Nations statistics, 258 million children and young people do not attend school and 617 million cannot read and do basic math.
The importance of education has been heightened during the COVID-19 crisis. Not only because parents, forced to help their children learn from home, have a new profound respect for teachers but because it has become increasingly clear that education is at the centre of every society. It is the bedrock of social cohesion, well-being and opportunity. For some areas of the world the pandemic has had devastating consequences for education, especially in places where access to remote learning tools is limited.
Education is a human right and today, on January 25, we celebrate the United Nation’s International Day of Education, under the motto “Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation”.
What Does This Have to Do With Temenos?
Temenos is committed to supporting society by helping banks to better serve their communities. We’re also keen to provide meaningful experiences to our 7,500 employees around the world and give them the opportunity to give back to their local communities. These employee stories show how even small efforts can have a big impact. In celebrating the International Day of Education, we celebrate our employees’ contributions and hope to shed light on the unfortunate situations many children and adolescents find themselves in.
Battling Remote Learning Without Stable Internet – St Lucia, Caribbean
Maria Pulice and Temenos LATAM and Carribean Team
Since I started working in the Caribbean region, I have made some amazing business relationships and connections. One of my peers reached out to me and asked if there was any way Temenos could help to build a new computer lab at the Anse La Ray RC Infant School (ALRIS). As an elementary school in one of the poorest areas of St. Lucia, they were crying out for more modern facilities that could equip students with the necessary computer skills to succeed in an increasingly technological world.
I was already aware that a lack of tools and equipment was an issue for education in the Caribbean. I also understood that many children relied on their school for a reliable internet connection, as home Wi-Fi was not a given for all. These children also needed a common place where they could come together to learn, to be mentored and to be inspired. All these factors made me want to help and so I made it one of my missions in 2020 to donate laptops to the elementary school, on behalf of Temenos.
I’m really proud of what we have achieved so far. We impacted 87 pupils! Children of all ages should have the opportunity to learn about technology and innovation and it was a privilege to ‘pay it forward’ especially during a global pandemic.
Not Giving up in Times of Severe Disruption – Making Education Safe in Chennai, India
Sangeetha Rajagopalan and Balamurali Balakrishnana, Temenos India CSR Program
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to continue helping students through the Adopt-iT program. We knew we could no longer meet them in person so we shifted our catch-ups to remote conversations. The students adapted really fast and it was heartening to see them blossom, advance their digital skills and develop a bond us as their “digital teachers”.
But it was just as helpful to us as volunteers. We were also struggling to adapt to the challenges of COVID and it felt incredibly positive to use our skills in a productive way, to provide support and direction to the students and, above all, feel content that we were doing something good for our community.
When the pandemic hit, our colleagues in India also created “COVID-19 preventative kits” to help the schools remain open and provide a safe space for the students. The kits, aligned to WHO precautionary guidelines, included immune-boosting food, masks, sanitizer and hygiene guidance.
Overall, we feel that we gained more than we offered and are proud that we managed to support the schools to stay safe. Read more about this here.
Disabled Children Overcome the Obstacles of Remote Learning – Bucharest, Romania
Victor Martin and Alexandra Vintu, Temenos Romania
For over 16 years, we have been supporting the Special Technological High School for Children with Hearing Disabilities in Bucharest, Romania. The children generally come from poor families with difficult backgrounds and live in the boarding house during the school year.
Education has been particularly challenging for these students during the pandemic, as learning has moved exclusively online. They needed equipment to enable them to participate in remote sign language classes.
To help, we donated 28 laptops, mouses and backpacks to help the children continue their education undisrupted and enhance the quality of the school’s fantastic educational programs. It felt quite overwhelming and truly fulfilling to see the joy and hope in the children’s eyes when they received the laptops. It is hard to express in words the rewarding feeling of contributing to a child’s chance for a brighter future.
We hope these stories inspire others to look for ways to support educational programs in their local communities and support recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the United Nations International Day of Education please click here.