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The Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) will be honouring 17 tertiary students at a scholarship awards ceremony, on Thursday, November 22, at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Head Office, 1F North Street, Kingston, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Acting Director of Social Security at the Ministry, Denzil Thorpe, explained that the scholarships, which are valued at $16.5 million, will be disbursed to recipients who have matriculated to accredited universities and teacher’s colleges, having excelled in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

“Each scholarship is valued at $1 million maximum, and will be disbursed over a three-year period, depending on the course of study, which forms part of the Ministry’s thrust to fostering education,” he told  JIS News.

Highlighting the programme’s 10th Anniversary, Mr. Thorpe  said that PATH is the nation’s flagship programme for the eradication of poverty, which represents a new type of social protection that seeks to promote human capital development as a means of “breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty”.

He said that by recognising exemplary students under the programme, who have excelled academically at the secondary level, the Ministry aims to motivate them to continue pursuing their educational endeavours and achieving their full potential.

“We know that this initiative is appropriate and necessary in terms of students continuing that educational leap. We realise that it is mostly through tertiary education that persons are able to become active members of the labour force, and as such, help their families to break out of the cycle of poverty,” Mr. Thorpe added.

He informed that one of the main reasons for issuing the scholarships is to highlight the fact that students under the Programme are committed to furthering their education, despite their circumstances.

“We want to show Jamaica that students under the programme can reach their full potential, regardless of their socio-economic background.  We are extremely proud of our awardees, given the fact that they are top achievers in the Caribbean region,” Mr. Thorpe said.

He pointed out that there were several criteria on which the applicants were judged, and based on the number of quality applications received, the Ministry had to increase the number of scholarships from 13 to 17.

“The beneficiaries had to complete an application form, and submit a detailed essay, indicating why they were suitable applicants for the scholarships. The applications were shortlisted, focusing on beneficiaries who obtained a minimum of 10 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, with passes mainly in ones, and some, a mixture of ones and twos.  We also analysed how involved they are socially, regarding extra-curricular school activities,” he added.

Mr. Thorpe said that recipients of the scholarships will be bonded to the Government of Jamaica for a period of three years, and will be obligated to serve this bond upon completion of the programme, in any public sector organisation in Jamaica.