Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says Jamaica’s future is being secured through initiatives such as the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
An integral part of the programme, he said, is advancing the educational development of young people, to break the “inter-generational cycle” of poverty.
“Our support is evidenced in the recent revision and increase on the benefit provided under the post-secondary grant, the provision of cash awards under PATH’s Top Achievers Award, and now the PATH 10th Anniversary Scholarship,” Mr. Kellier stated.
He was addressing the 17 beneficiaries of the Ministry’s $16.5 million 10th Anniversary scholarships awarded in 2012, during a courtesy call on Tuesday, July 9, at the Ministry’s North Street offices in Kingston.
The Minister contended that as the administration invests in the people, “all of us will emerge as winners” in the long run.
In commending the awardees, Mr. Kellier said they are “positive testimonials” of what can be achieved through collaboration involving the state, family, and community.
He also commended the directors of PATH “for continuing to engage you and to monitor your progress, to ensure that the effort that we have put forward in awarding these bursaries to further your education will, indeed, come to fruition, when you have completed your courses.”
PATH’s Project Director, Dunstan Bryan, underscored the programme’s focus on education as “one of the most feasible ways of breaking the cycle of poverty.”
“What we are saying to the general public is that PATH is working, and it is working because of these (students), who have accessed the programme and have excelled far beyond our own anticipation and our own targets that we have set for them,” he stated.
The students’ visit to the Ministry, also saw them participating in a “goals re-alignment” session aimed at assisting them to refocus on personal goals. Noting that the first year in a tertiary institution can be a “stressful and daunting experience,” Mr. Bryan said the Ministry deemed it appropriate to follow up on the students’ progress.
“We thought it important, not to leave you out there, but to call you back for us to talk to you and realign you to what you set your tasks out to be, and what we are helping you to achieve. We are on a path, we are on a journey,” Mr. Bryan stated.
Several of the students expressed gratitude for the intervention, which they said, have enabled them to focus on their studies.
Ashroan Fraser, a first year student at the University of West Indies (UWI), who is pursuing the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery programme, said the scholarship was timely and eased a lot of the financial burden on his family.
“As a result of that, my grades were on par. For the upcoming year I (aim) to realign my goals,” he stated.
University of Technology (UTech)) student, Kayla Campbell, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, noted that her parents “had it hard” identifying the resources to finance her studies.
“But I want to say thanks to PATH for easing that burden so I was able to focus more on my studies than where the tuition was coming from,” she stated.
The 13 females and four males, who received scholarships of up to $1 million each, are from PATH beneficiary families.
PATH is a conditional cash transfer programme of the Government of Jamaica, which is aimed at delivering benefits by way of cash grants to the most needy and vulnerable in the society.
Contact: Douglas McIntosh