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KINGSTON — Chief Education Officer, Grace McLean, has called on students to take advantage of educational opportunities, noting that the knowledge being imparted in the local education system is preparing them for success in the international market place.

“It is very important that you focus on your education…what you’re learning now in school…is what is going to help you to develop those tactics and those techniques and those skills that are required for you to survive in a world like this,” she said.

She was addressing a gathering of secondary school, and HEART Trust/NTA beneficiaries of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica (IMBAJ) bursaries, at an award ceremony on Monday July 4 at the company’s Oxford Park Road offices in Kingston.

Mrs. McLean urged the students to recognize the global environment in which they are competing, noting that there are billions of young people all over the world, who are vying for the same spaces, and the same top jobs all over the world.

“You’re in a globally competitive marketplace where it is the survival of the fittest that is going to make the difference so you have to think of what is happening in the global environment and how it is impacting your lives,” she pointed out.

Hence, she said, it is critical to make the right choices. “Life is not only about living now…life is about investing in your particular preparation, so that later on you can reap the benefits… it is only through you being strong willed, having determination and focusing on your goal, that you’re going to make the right choices,” the Chief Education Officer stated.

Mrs. McLean further urged the beneficiaries to align themselves to mentors, who will support and facilitate their academic and personal development, instead of seeking to be with the “in crowd”, which she said, is often to their detriment.

“Your friends are important, but…talk to your teacher, find out how he or she got to this stage…see if you can identify these role models, who can assist you in your development…when persons see that you have that attitude and that determination, they are going to see that you’re a hard worker and reward you,” she stated.

She also stressed the importance of values, in developing the right ethics and attitudes toward education and work, noting, that, “you have to be grounded in the values and principles that your parents have passed on to you”.

Some 23 students attending high schools and the Portmore HEART Academy received scholarships to assist with their studies.

The high school students, who are children of construction workers, attend Clarendon College and Denbigh High in Clarendon; Cornwall College, St. James; Frome Technical High, Westmoreland; Hampton High and Newell High, St. Elizabeth; Merl Grove High, Kingston; St. Catherine High; Rusea’s High, Hanover; and Westwood High, Trelawny.

Meanwhile, the awardees from the Portmore Heart Academy are pursing Level III training in Industrial Electrical Maintenance, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, and General Construction.

President of the IMAJ, Hugh Burton, informed that some 250 students have been assisted under the initiative, which got underway in 2004.

“Through our education assistance programme, the Incorporated Master Builders Association is committed to development and training, and each year, gives financial assistance to students studying at the University of the West Indies St. Augustine campus, Portmore HEART Academy, VTDI (Vocational Training Development Institute) and children of construction workers,” he stated.

 

By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS reporter