Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has commended the First Regional Co-operative Credit Union for making unsecured loans available to parents and guardians to facilitate back-to-school preparations.
He was speaking at a recent ceremony held at the Hibiscus Lodge Hotel in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, where the credit union awarded scholarships valued at $1.19 million to 15 students from the parish, who are enrolled in high schools and tertiary institutions across the island.
[TIPS: Back to School Tips]
The institution recently launched its Back-to-School 50 Plus facility, where loans are available at 12 per cent per annum. There is a no share requirement and applicants just need to present their last three pay slips and proof of their children’s needs for school. One lucky applicant from each of the credit union’s 10 branches in St. Ann and St. Mary, will win $5, 000 towards purchasing books.
Minister Thwaites, in hailing the move, said that the availability of the loan facility is of even greater significance than the scholarships that have been provided.
"This is what we need… and the credit union is taking a risk, but it is a most plausible risk, because you are investing… in the most important investment that Jamaica can undertake now. Even if we were to find vast new natural resources, or be able to triple the output of say the tourism sector, none of it would come to any good purpose if we do not have a well educated, socially adjusted and spiritually conscious workforce, and that is what the credit union is saying they are prepared to do,” he stated.
The Education Minister encouraged those, who make use of the loan facility, to ensure that the repayments are made promptly, so that the funds may revolve to other students, who are in need.
He further urged parents and students, especially those at the tertiary level, to join the credit union movement.
"Not only is this thrift and good purpose, but it is a practical realisation of the truth that there is no 'boops' to finance tertiary education. No one owes you tertiary education. We all have to contribute to it," he stated.
He stressed that Jamaicans "should get into the habit of saving now for what is to come later" and that “we should all play a part in the financing of education".