JIS News

Sixteen students, the children of workers at the Sandals Montego Bay Hotel, were presented with bursaries totaling $270,000 at a ceremony held at that hotel on Friday (Sept. 7). The students were selected through the hotel’s ‘Special Achievers Core’ programme, which aims to ensure that “there are no financial barriers to prevent the beneficiaries under the programme from continuing their education”.
Eleven of the beneficiaries, who will be attending tertiary institutions, received $20,000 each, while the other five, who will be attending high schools, received $10,000 each.
According to General Manager of the St. James-based hotel, Horace Peterkin, to qualify for the programme, the students must be children of workers at the hotel; attending a school in Jamaica; have good academic, behaviour and attendance records; and must be in need of assistance.
President of the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA), Ena Barclay, who gave the main address at the presentation ceremony, underscored the importance of tourism and education to nation building, and the significance of a supportive partnership between both sectors.
“Tourism is of vital importance to our country’s growth; it contributes greatly to our social and economic development and is our number one earner of foreign exchange. Education on the other hand, is the key to our national development,” she stated.
She noted further that through education, “we can provide the awareness that is necessary to enhance and sustain the tourism product. This partnership between education and tourism therefore, is very important and must be nurtured.”
According to the JTA President, the Ministry of Education and Youth has shown its understanding of the importance of the partnership between tourism and education, through the introduction of tourism studies to the curricula of primary and high schools some years ago. This move, she said, helped to create an awareness of the tourism industry, and the need for its protection.
Stating that “tourism is big business and everybody’s business,” she noted that “as the industry continues to grow, we must continue to educate our people of its importance”.
The JTA President urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the scholarships, noting that Jamaica is waiting for them to unleash their potential in a positive way.
“We need your skills; we need your values, your positive attitude to work, your critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to help this country grow. You cannot afford to fail us,” she stated.