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KINGSTON — The International University of the Caribbean (IUC) presented 20 more scholarships to persons from across the island on Friday September 16.

The scholarships, valued at $16 million in all, fall under the 5-year-old university’s Tertiary Tracks Scholarship programme, which is geared at addressing the under-representation of males at the tertiary level. They will each cover a four-year period.

Under the programme, 80 per cent of the scholarships are allocated to males with proven financial constraints who have an interest, and the relevant qualifications to pursue tertiary studies.

Speaking at the 4th annual awards ceremony, Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, encouraged the recipients to make the best use of the opportunities being given to them. He said that these opportunities will ensure that Jamaica has an educated society to support its development.

“This opportunity that has been given here to you has given you a hold on life. It has offered you an opportunity that perhaps on your own, (you wouldn’t have received),” he said, challenging the recipients to use the openings wisely in advancing themselves.

He noted that self esteem plays a critical role in upward mobility, and encouraged the recipients to be confident about their future.

“Self esteem brings with it self worth, self regard, self respect and self integrity,” he said. Senator McKenzie also lauded the university, for seeking to reduce the imbalance between males and females in tertiary institutions by offering most of the scholarships to men.

He commended the work being undertaken at the IUC, adding that it is offering a new concept in tertiary education, which should set the tone for the future of education at his level in Jamaica.

In expressing gratitude on behalf of the recipients, David Gordon pledged that they will strive to do their best to maintain good grades, while giving back to their communities.

Other speakers included IUC President, Rev. Dr. Maitland Evans, Pro Vice Chancellor Irene Walters, Assistant Vice President for Communication and Student Services, Julie Newton and Vice President, Jennifer Martin.

Since its inception, 71 persons from inner-city and rural communities across Jamaica have benefitted from the scholarships.Five criteria were used to select awardees: involvement in community work; displaying potential to undertake university level work; ability to demonstrate financial need; potential for developing as mentor and effective community leader; and the matriculation requirements of the university.

Awardees also received prizes donated by Symmetry, GraceKennedy, Softsheen Carson, Pizza Hut and KFC.

The IUC was founded by the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in November, 2005. It has merged two educational entities in the College for Leadership and Theological Development (CLTD), formerly the Institute for Theological and Leadership Development, and the Mel Nathan College.

The University has pledged to deliver affordable, accredited, tertiary education, to people with a desire to empower themselves to meet the demands of a competitive global employment environment. It operates from 19 campuses in Jamaica and one in Grand Cayman.

                                                           

By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter