The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has awarded 440 scholarships valued $330 million to tertiary students under the Maths, Science and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (MS-TVET) Teacher Initiative for the 2017/18 academic year.
The scholarships will provide students pursuing degrees in education, in preparation to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with funding for tuition, miscellaneous fees, boarding and books.
Students requiring additional financial assistance will be provided with a grant of $20,000.
The provision of the scholarships, which are tenable at the University of the West Indies, University of Technology Jamaica, Mico University College, Shortwood Teachers College and Church Teachers College, is aimed at boosting the cadre of Mathematics and Science teachers in schools islandwide.
Awardees will be bonded for five years and are required to sign an agreement authorising their deployment by the Education Ministry on completing their studies.
The recipients will also be required to maintain a ‘B’ average in order to retain their scholarships, which were presented during a ceremony at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on Friday, August 25.
Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, who spoke at the ceremony, said the MS-TVET initiative was part of the Ministry’s strategic approach to increasing the number of qualified Maths and Science teachers within the education system.
He argued that the students’ decision to focus on STEM courses, particularly Mathematics, will have a far-reaching impact on Jamaica’s development.
As such, the Minister urged them to remain focused on their studies in order to maintain the requisite average which will ensure that their scholarships remain intact.
Senator Reid emphasized that the Ministry is committed to integrating STEM within the education system, noting that these subjects are being used as the fundamental base for implementing a new curriculum.
In this regard, he said the Ministry has allocated $150 million to embark on this process during 2017/18.
He advised that nine secondary schools initially shortlisted have received their allocations, with another 60 being provided with partial funding.
Additionally, Senator Reid said the TVET Integration Model is ongoing, pointing out that $153 million has been allocated this year to provide training and equipment for nearly 70 schools.