JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging parents to start saving early for their children’s tertiary education.
  • Three Grade 7 students from Windward Road Primary and Junior High School were awarded five-year tuition scholarships by the radio station.
  • Rev. Thwaites stressed the importance of parents being fully involved in their children’s school life.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging parents to start saving early for their children’s tertiary education.

“More and more of our children are matriculating for tertiary education, and by 2020, more than 40 per cent of all students in the secondary school system are going to be ready for tertiary education. The Government can’t pay for it all,” he emphasised.

The Minister was addressing a GSAT Scholarship awards function, hosted by Nationwide 90 FM, on July 24, at the Oasis on the Oxford, in Kingston.

Three Grade 7 students from Windward Road Primary and Junior High School were awarded five-year tuition scholarships by the radio station. Tariq Thomas, Chantae Baker, and Deshaun Brandford, who excelled in GSAT, will be entering the secondary school system in September.

Rev. Thwaites stressed the importance of parents being fully involved in their children’s school life.

“You must link with your child’s school…going there and registering them and then turning up for graduation is not enough. Walk with them to school, take an interest in the school, this can make a whole lot of difference,” he said.

The Minister also urged students to seek out non-traditional and technical and vocational careers. “Try when you’re in high school, not to follow an old pattern …the traditional subjects are important, but technical and vocational subjects are just as good as the formal academic subjects. That’s where the jobs are going to be, and that’s where Jamaica needs the skills,” the Minister said.

However, he encouraged students to pay special attention to the critical core subjects of English and Mathematics. “Command of the English language is an absolute necessity in the modern world. We are not doing well in Math at all, but it is key. We need to ensure that we pay close attention, give extra periods in mathematics, so that we can build up our capacity,” Rev. Thwaites added.

The Minister applauded and endorsed the work being done by the staff at Windward Road Primary and Junior High. “Who says that we can’t have excellence in the inner city, and that we are facing some kind of desperate system of incompetence in our schools. We have plenty to do, but we have teachers who come to school on time, prepare their lessons, who when they have students with special needs, seek out the kind of assistance that they need,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Editor of Nationwide 90 FM, Cliff Hughes, told JIS News that the students first came to their attention on Khadine ‘Miss Kitty’ Hylton’s radio show.

“The rest is history…I invited them to Impact (TV programme)…they just blew away the Jamaican audience. We have not had a programme for the last several years that elicited so many positive responses,” he said.

Mr. Hughes said the station decided to assist with their secondary education, after speaking with the parents. “We discovered that they are coming from very humble circumstances…they need help with going back-to-school. My staff and myself decided that we have to invest in these kids,” he added.

Nationwide 90 FM has committed to fund school fees totaling $421,000 for the students over five years, provided that they maintain an 80 per cent grade average.

Kingston Bookshop, Carlong Publishers, Azans, and Sammy’s Shoes are providing school supplies, inclusive of uniforms, shoes, and book vouchers for the students.

Tariq will be attending Wolmer’s Boys’ School; Deshaun, Campion College; and  Chantae, Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha).