GLEANER: State Minister for Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green is imploring more Jamaicans, including those in the diaspora, to become involved by offering more scholarships to needy Jamaican students.
"Sometimes we may see it just as a way to help an individual, when, in fact, we are really helping our country, especially when the scholarship is tied to education," said Green, who has responsibility for the youth portfolio.
He was speaking ahead of the publication of The Gleaner's popular Scholarships To Go feature, the 12th edition of which is due out on May 1. It's a must-have not only for students, but for parents and guardians who are looking to further their children's education.
The indispensable role scholarships now play in Jamaica's education system is not lost on Green.
"Scholarships are a very critical part of our educational system. Many students and their parents find it difficult to move from one level of the system to the next because of a lack of financial and other resources," the junior minister observed.
The member of parliament (MP) for St Elizabeth South West told The Gleaner that as elected officials, MPs are oftentimes faced with families that are unable to adequately fund their children's education.
"So for us (the Ministry of Education), where you can have scholarships or where they have access to scholarships, it goes a far way in helping them to achieve their dreams," said Green.
... Scholarships A Great Way To Reward Excellence - Green
While stressing that for those who are in significant need, scholarships are "extremely important", Junior Education Minister Floyd Green says they also serve other purposes.
"A scholarship is a great way to reward excellence and encourage our young people," Green said.
He noted that many of the scholarships that are awarded each year, scores of which are listed in Scholarships To Go, are not based solely on financial need.
"You have to be a high performer, so in this regard, the prospect of gaining a scholarship motivates students to do well and to work hard. When somebody gets a scholarship, it becomes a crowning moment ... so it is a very important part of our education system," Green reiterated.
In terms of the Ministry of Education and the scholarships it awards to promising students each year, he said the ministry was becoming more strategic.
Green said the ministry was now using scholarships to "help to influence selection, career paths and choices".
"We recognise that there are some areas where we have deficiencies in relation to having trained personnel, and we are also trying to use scholarships to incentivise those areas, for example, as a way to attract more mathematics and science teachers," the state minister explained.
He said the ministry also looks at labour market demands and trends to justify granting scholarships in particular fields of endeavour.
"A scholarship, for us, is a very important tool in relation to helping our young people to achieve their goals and in relation to driving a policy regarding ensuring that training is aligned to market."
Meanwhile, the state minister heaped praises on the individuals and companies that award scholarships each year, sometimes at great expense to themselves and their organisations.
With regard to companies, Green said. "It's an important part of their corporate responsibility to give back through scholarships".
To those thinking about offering a scholarship, Green had some advice: "I would want to encourage more of our people to get involved. It does not take much to establish a scholarship and to work with an educational institution to identify children who are in need," he said.
"If more of our people took that on board, then we would have more of our young people being able to complete and fulfil their educational journey ... ."
CAPTION: Earl Jarrett (second right), general manager of Jamaica National Building Society and chairman of JN Foundation, and Floyd Green, minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, pin JN Scholars awardees at a Jamaica National Foundation Scholarship Awards function in 2016.