JIS News

One hundred grade 10 and 11 students from selected high schools in western Jamaica are to benefit from the $4 million Western Belt Work Study Education Programme, which is designed to provide an opportunity for students from economically challenged background to earn while they learn.
The programme, which was launched last week at the Montego Bay Civic Centre, is the brainchild of Member of Parliament for East Central St. James, Edmund Bartlett.
Participating schools are Muschette, Maldon, St. James High and Herbert Morrison Technical High. The schools are required to select students from rural communities with good academic ability, proven need for financial assistance and good behaviour.
The selected students will be required to work two hours per day, five days per week and will receive a stipend of $1,000 per week. The money will be disbursed through the schools. Possible areas of employment are school libraries; science laboratories; tuck shops or canteens; environmental, agricultural or business management projects at the schools; community canteens and in government and private sector agencies.
The programme is being managed by an 11-member board with Mr. Bartlett as chairman.
Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson, who was at the launch, commended Mr. Bartlett for the initiative. She said the work-study programme was indicative of what could happen when citizens worked together for the good of the community.
“What a wonderful array of opportunities have resulted from agencies working together, forgetting territorialism and putting our children first . I think it is something to be highly commended,” the Minister stated.
She told the students, parents and teachers present that education was invaluable and was the key to social mobility. “School is a place where students must identify, develop and maximize their strengths, their skills and their talents. Our teachers and staff must therefore help students to apply what they learn so that it is relevant. Our curriculum must match some kind of a outcome that is desirable for our children,” the Education Minister observed.
She urged the students to ensure that they were fully engaged in the work study programme, to manage their time well, focus and establish their priorities, stressing that the time had come when they must begin to take responsibility for their educational advancement.
In his remarks, Mr. Bartlett said that the programme would be extended to other high schools and two tertiary institutions with a target of 500 students annually at a cost of $20 million.
This first phase of the project is being funded by Mr. Bartlett, through contribution from overseas Jamaicans, but it is expected that the private sector, non-government groups and members of parliament in the parish will provide financial and other support to sustain the initiative.

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