JIS News

Some 300,000 students at the primary level islandwide from grades one to five will receive free mathematics textbooks as a result of a joint initiative between the private sector and government for the 2004/05 September school term.
The programme, ‘I Promise to Lend Encouragement to Develop Growth in Education’ (PLEDGE), is a collaborative effort with Grace, Kennedy Remittance Services, Western Union International, the United States Embassy, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Jamaican Government through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture.
The ‘I PLEDGE’ initiative was conceived under the Building Bridges programme, which is being spearheaded by the United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Sue Cobb.
Explaining how the programme will work at today’s launch at the Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston, Joan-Marie Powell, Executive Director of International Markets at Grace, Kennedy Remittance Services, said that the company would contribute US$200,000 towards the purchasing of the books. Meanwhile, the US Embassy will also donate US$25,000 to the programme.
Stressing the importance of education in the development of the country, she said, “to ensure successful implementation and sustainability of educational programmes, private sector entities must play their part by devoting a proportional significant part of their annual budget to education. To this end, Grace, Kennedy shares this vision”.
Miss Powell further stressed that the nation’s children needed all the help that corporate Jamaica and individuals could give.
Endorsing the initiative, Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson said: “This is a significant event that we are participating in today. Jamaicans abroad, place the same value on education. Therefore, this is a way we can leverage their assistance in supporting the education programme in Jamaica.”
She noted that the contribution was also timely as the Ministry was about to prepare a new curriculum at the primary and early childhood levels. “The contribution will facilitate us preparing materials which are aligned to the new curriculum,” she added.
The I PLEDGE programme will be implemented in the State of Florida in the United States from May 19 to July 9 at all Western Union branches throughout the State.
Veniese Whittingham, Marketing Manager at the Caribbean Western Union International, explained that every time a consumer sent money home to Jamaica from Florida with Western Union between May 19 and July 9, the company would donate US$1 per pledge towards the purchase of mathematics textbooks.
She pointed out that with every pledge, the consumer would also get a chance to win one of 20 trips home on Air Jamaica. Meanwhile, the I PLEDGE programme will be launched in Florida on Friday, May 14.
“Many Jamaicans send money home to their loved ones. This is a call to Jamaicans, that at no additional cost to you, you can continue to make a difference to a cause you also share,” she appealed.

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