Some 65 pupils from primary schools island-wide, who were successful in this year's Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), have received scholarships and awards valued at over $600,000 under the National People’s Cooperative Bank of Jamaica’s (NPCBJ) inaugural GSAT Scholarship Programme.
The awards, which were made during a special luncheon at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester on Thursday (August 30), were presented to children, who either have accounts with the institution, or whose parents are members/clients.
Speaking at the function, NPCBJ General Manager, Curtis Barnett, said the bank has been an integral part of the lives of ordinary Jamaicans, whom they have served for more than 107 years. He said that the decision to launch the awards was “very easy for the Board of Directors”.
"Today marks a very special moment in the history of the National People's Cooperative Bank. The award of (the) 65 scholarships is an island-wide event, but more importantly, (it) is the recognition that Jamaica's future depends heavily on the country's intellectual capacity and, therefore, every effort must be made to invest in the education of the nation’s children," Mr. Barnett stated.
In his remarks, Board Chairman of the NPCBJ, David Bowes, noted that the launch of the institution’s scholarship programme was in response to the Education Ministry’s call for partnership “because (we) realize that this (education) is everybody’s (responsibility)".
Guest speaker at the function, Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, in commending the NPCBJ's initiative, described it as “the kind of partnership which education needs and Jamaica needs”.
"This is the story of a financial institution…made strong, not by some huge deposit of capital; but rather by the savings of the ordinary people of this land over 100 years, that is saying… it is time to encourage the next generation…of producers," Rev. Thwaites said.
Scholarship awardees, Oshane Whitely of Duckenfield Primary School in St. Thomas, and Trishauna Johnson of Prattville Primary School in Manchester, who responded on behalf of all the recipients, expressed gratitude to the NPCBJ, and pledged to work towards excelling at the secondary school level.
The NPCBJ GSAT Scholarship Programme is slated to become a permanent annual fixture on the institution's calendar.