JIS News

Thirty students, whose parents are serving in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), or died while serving, were awarded scholarships yesterday (October 19), to further their education at the University of the West Indies, Northern Caribbean University, and the University of Technology for a period of three years.
Each scholarship is valued at $100,000 annually, and priority was given to children of policemen or women killed in the line of duty, and children of police officers injured or disabled. The other students were selected on the basis of merit.
National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, who addressed the ceremony at the Courtleigh Auditorium, announced that come next year, the number of scholarships to be awarded would be increased from 30 to 50.
“It is also the case that we will be reviewing the amount that is being provided to ensure that we are keeping pace with some of the cost structures in the institutions, since we first determined the $100,000 figure,” he said, adding that the scholarship programme would be expanded beyond the current approved three universities, to include all certified tertiary-level institutions in the island.
He pointed out that the scholarship represented an effective collaboration between the Ministry of National Security and the Police Federation, and also underlined the fundamental importance that the government attached to education and training of the young in the emerging global economy.
“Whereas the whole Jamaican economy was based on natural resources like sugar and bauxite and a large part of our labour force found opportunities for employment, it is going to be increasingly difficult for workers who are not trained and educated to get opportunities for employment in the new global economic environment,” he explained.
Against this background, the Minister said the modern Jamaican economy was now being dominated by information driven and human resource based service areas such as tourism, commerce, finance, and information technology, jobs which placed a high premium on quality education, particularly at the tertiary level.
While lauding the awardees on being given the opportunity to pursue tertiary studies, Minister Phillips said in the new world environment, it was countries with a high percentage of enrolment of young persons in the 17 to 24 year age group that were proving prosperous.
“In some cities in Japan, the enrolment rate for that age group is as high as 45 per cent; in Jamaica we are just over 10 per cent. We definitely have a very long way to go,” he noted.
He encouraged the university-bound awardees to be committed to face the challenges ahead of them and pursue their varied goals with resolve.
In his address, Chairman of the Police Federation, Corporal Raymond Wilson said the awarding of scholarships reflected, “true succession planning, as educating our children is not only a personal investment, but it is also a process preparing them as leaders of nations and varied vocations”.
Corporal Wilson told the recipients that theirs was an opportunity “inspired by the hard work and dedication of the parents, our hard working rank and file foot soldiers, who gave their best as they knew how. It is through the love of their families and this country that they have dedicated their lives”.
He implored the awardees to be focused, to maintain standards, and be disciplined in their educational pursuits.
Speaking to JIS News after the ceremony, Leon Wilson, a scholarship recipient, who is headed to the University of Technology, expressed appreciation for being given assistance to attend a tertiary institution.
“It has been a great help financially to my parents. The money can help them to do other things with their money to help me also,” he said, noting that he was hopeful that he would be able to live up to their expectations.