JIS News

The Jamaica Values and Attitudes Project for Tertiary Students, (JAMVAT), has recorded significant growth in the number of applications it received this year – a 105 per cent increase – when compared with 2001 when the programme began.
Speaking with JIS News, Manager for JAMVAT, Captain Paul Barrett said that a total of 1,850 students applied to the programme this academic year, compared with 884 in 2001.
He further noted that in the last academic year, students volunteered some 157,747 hours to the programme, compared with 85,771 in 2001.
Of greater significance, Captain Barrett pointed out, was the number of students who have successfully completed the programme. In this regard, he noted that in 2004, 99 per cent or 800 of the students who started the programme completed it successfully, compared with 70 per cent or 548 in 2001.
Overall, Captain Barrett noted that since its inception there has been a steady increase each year in the number of students who successfully complete the programme.
The percentage increase, Captain Barrett said, was due to the fact that students were more appreciative of the stipulations of the programme, as well as the personal benefits to be derived from it. “Many of them have regarded the programme as being very helpful,” he added.
JAMVAT, a ‘work-study’ programme managed by the National Youth Service (NYS), aids tertiary students in need of financial assistance by paying 30 per cent of their school fees, as well as provide them with a stipend of $10,000.
Students, on the other hand, are required to work for 200 hours in an institution of their choice, be it a community based organization, a non-government/non-profit or government organization.
In addition to financial assistance, he said that students also gained the experience of working in an organization. “The positive values will come through the work that they do and what they learn from that experience… and from that aspect it is a positive programme,” Captain Barrett said.
The programme allows students to complete the stipulated number of hours within a six-month period, usually from July through to December. However, a student by permission, may extend his/her time frame in order to complete the programme. He or she may also opt to work all the hours during the summer. JAMVAT primarily targets second year students, but first and final year students may also apply.
Students are also allowed to apply to the programme each year, for the duration of their study, once they have not been approved for a loan from the Students Loan Bureau (SLB).
Continuing, Captain Barrett explained that second year students were mainly targeted, as a result of a study commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, which revealed that the highest rate of ‘student fall-outs’ occurred during the second year of study, primarily as a result of the lack of finance. JAMVAT sought to fill that gap, thus ensuring that the students completed their course of studies.
Students who are interested in becoming a part of JAMVAT, may view information about the programme online, at the website of the National Youth Service at www.nysjamaica.org. Forms may be submitted to its Head Office in Kingston, or at any NYS office islandwide. The application period opens each year in January and closes in March.