- A total of 20 pre-service teachers, studying for their diplomas and degrees in Spanish, have been presented with scholarships valued at $50,000 each.
- The student teachers, who attend training institutions across the island, were awarded based on their academic performance.
- Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites expressed gratitude to the SJF and the Spanish Embassy for its “continued goodwill”.
A total of 20 pre-service teachers, studying for their diplomas and degrees in Spanish, have been presented with scholarships valued at $50,000 each, courtesy of the Spanish-Jamaica Foundation (SJF).
The student teachers, who attend training institutions across the island, were awarded based on their academic performance, general conduct and financial need.
They were also presented with certificates during a special ceremony held at the Shortwood Teachers’ College auditorium in St. Andrew on Friday, February 14.
Keynote speaker, Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites expressed gratitude to the SJF and the Spanish Embassy for its “continued goodwill”.
“The presentation of scholarships, valuing $1 million, will ease the financial burden attendant on pursuing tertiary education,” he stated.
Mr. Thwaites also expressed appreciation for the SJF’s ‘Jamaica 50’ scholarship awards, which saw $2.5 million worth of educational assistance being given to 50 trainee Spanish teachers in 2012.
“We also appreciate the efforts made to cover the cost of oral exam fees for students sitting CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) Spanish,” he stated.
He noted that SJF partnership in promoting Spanish is in keeping with national strategies to enhance the foreign language capabilities of the local workforce.
“And this capability will equip our resort sector workforce and our data entry segment of the economy with necessary additional skills as well as open up our people to the broad range of Ibero-Caribbean culture, which is so much a part of our history,” the Minister said.
He congratulated the awardees and implored them to make good use of the scholarships in “equipping yourselves with a marketable skill and to become Spanish language ambassadors among the Jamaican population”.
Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica and President of the SJF, Her Excellency Celsa Nuño, said that the Embassy will continue to partner with the Ministry of Education as it strengthens the teaching and learning of foreign languages in Jamaica.
“The numbers speak for themselves; Spanish is the second most spoken international language in the world and around 375 million persons, who speak it as a first language live in the Americas. As Jamaica looks towards increasing its political and economic integration within the Latin American region, there will be an increased demand for Spanish speakers,” she noted.
Speaking with JIS News, scholarship recipient and student at the Shortwood Teachers’ College, Elton Harris, said he is grateful for the award.
“It’s a source of motivation, in that, when you have received a scholarship, you will continue to want to do better. It’s also of great assistance as I have an immersion course coming up, which is quite costly, so this will help me a far way,” he stated.
Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College student, Antoinette Henry, also expressed gratitude, noting that she was “very happy for the scholarship”, as it will help to offset her tuition costs.
“I’m going into my third year and I have a trip to Panama, it’s an accredited course, so we have to get extra money for that, plus the school fees,” she said.
The SJF, which was founded in 2006, seeks to foster partnerships between Spain and Jamaica through educational, cultural, environmental and community development initiatives.