The City of Bridgetown Co-operative Credit Union Limited (C.O.B) is changing the way young people relate to and use money.
To do so, the financial institution launched the pilot of the C.O.B Secondary Schools Credit Union in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, last Friday.
Over the next six weeks, seven schools will participate in the programme which is the forerunner of C.O.B’s – Children Are Really Enthusiastic Savers (C.A.R.E.S) programme formed 10 years ago.
Explaining the rationale behind the Secondary School’s Credit Union, President of C.O.B., Henderson Williams observed that the economic climate in Barbados has changed and along with it, the Government’s ability to fund certain activities in the country – such as education.
“We at C.O.B Credit Union Ltd. believe that we should prepare our youth to manage this change by being proactive, hence the savings programme within the schools,” he explained.
“The opportunity of the Secondary Schools Credit Union not only emphasizes thrift, but affords students first-hand knowledge of starting a business and applying those business principles taught to grow that business within the school setting. This we believe would prepare them for the business world and to be able to hit the ground running.”
The President also stressed that C.O.B wants to ensure that at the end of the student’s secondary school tenure, each of them enrolled in the C.A.R.E.S programme is able to fund their tuition fees for the first semester at University. He also revealed that those students in the C.A.R.E.S programme, who perform well in the CXC, CAPE examinations could qualify for scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $3,500.
Senator Harcourt Husbands, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education described the initiative as “very important”.
“We must prepare these youngsters for their future,” he stressed.
“When you are young, you don’t think much about retirement and other preparations for your future and so on, but as we age these things come closer to our minds and we need to talk to our children and get them involved in preparation for the future”.
Principal of Combermere School and President of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPSS), Vere Parris, also lauded C.O.B. He believes that students who embrace the Credit Union have much to gain.
He said the concept of money management is important.
“A lot of our society is about getting money and spending it, or borrowing it to support a lifestyle… What we are here being able to benefit from would be the importance of saving as a practice and as a culture. If we can have saving as a cultural form for us a society overall, the country will benefit, so to have that practice from childhood is very important.”
During the pilot schools – Alleyne, Combermere, Coleridge & Parry, Queen’s College, Lodge, Lester Vaughan and St George – will compete against each other for the most students signed up and the most savings realized over the six week period. The first three winners will each receive in addition to monetary prizes, an LED Screen and a Laptop for the school credit union compliments OSI Computer Store. (TL)