The 28 top-performing students in the 2020 Primary Exit Profile (PEP) have benefited from education grants from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to cover study-related expenses in secondary school.
The students, one boy and one girl from each parish, received a cheque valued at $40,000 during a ceremony on Tuesday (November 17) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
In addition, the USF Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) scholarship was awarded to Shantel Williams to cover her tertiary studies in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at Church Teachers’ College.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz, in his keynote address, said he is always heartened by initiatives that invest in the education of the nation’s children.
He noted that “children are the light of their families and the hope of countries. They represent the next generation of world changers and are filled with tremendous capacity and potential and we must give them every opportunity to fulfil their potential”.
Minister Vaz congratulated the recipients and encouraged them to use the awards as a launching pad to pursue their dreams and advance the country’s welfare.
“Your work has proven that you are capable and you have the potential and the ability to change not just your life but to also transform this nation,” he said.
“Set goals for yourself, aspire towards great things, apply yourself to your studies and aggressively pursue your dreams. Never settle for mediocrity but never be afraid to fail, because sometimes failure is the fuel that births success,” he added.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval William, during a recorded video presentation, also offered commendations to the students.
“Your hard work and discipline have paid off and you are deservedly being rewarded today. Scholarship awardees, you have done yourself proud and your schools proud and I wish all of you success in your studies,” she said.
She also thanked USF for investing in the country’s youth.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Zavia Mayne, in his remarks said that the scholarships from the USF “could not have come at a better time, considering that families are now grappling with economic challenges caused by this global pandemic”.
He thanked the USF for partnering with the Labour Ministry to impact children who are on PATH, while noting that the partnership will provide new opportunities for beneficiary students.
Executive Director of the USF, Daniel Dawes, for his part, said the agency is very pleased to support the education of the country’s youth, noting that it is a worthwhile investment.
“These programmes form a part of the USF commitment to ensure that Jamaica becomes a knowledge-based society,” he added.
The USF’s annual scholarship awards is in keeping with the agency’s mandate to ensure Jamaica becomes a digitally literate and knowledge-based society.
The aim is to ignite interest in ICT on the part on the PEP recipients and propel tertiary students to achieve great heights in ICT.