Categorized | National News

57 Students Awarded Scholarships

The dream of 57 Bahamian students yesterday became a reality, after being awarded scholarships to tertiary institutions throughout the United States and Canada.

The scholarship awards came as a result of a partnership between the Ministry of Education Science and Technology and universities throughout the United States and Canada.

During the ceremony held at the Harry C. Moore Library, College of The Bahamas, Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald stressed the importance of the programme, noting that it is a product of the government’s commitment to its initial promise to double its investment in education.

According to Minister Fitzgerald, his tenure as minister met him with the fact that less than seven per cent of public school graduates typically received scholarships for tertiary education.

The startling statistics were the impetus behind the creation of the Public School Scholars Award.

“At present, less than 20 per cent of the students graduating from the public secondary high schools in The Bahamas transition to pursue postsecondary education. There are a number of identifiable variables that may account for this but the most obvious are the financial barriers prohibiting students’ access to local and international scholarships and financial aid opportunities,” said the minister.

“Furthermore, less than seven per cent of public school students apply for and benefit from scholarships provided by the Ministry of Education to study abroad. Additionally, less than 20 per cent of public school students apply for the bursary to attend the College of The Bahamas. This is generally due to a lack of awareness of the scholarships available and we at the Ministry are trying to increase these numbers by placing more emphasis on college awareness, readiness and preparation,” Mr. Fitzgerald added.

Meanwhile, the minister noted that the government along with the participating universities will invest approximately $5.5 million over the next four years.

Further Mr. Fitzgerald said he is hoping to increase the number of scholarship recipients to 100 next year, and then to double that number by the year 2019.

The minister pointed out that this year, the majority of the awardees hail from the Family Islands.

The recipients expressed their heartfelt appreciation for the gesture.

After thanking the parents for their hard work and commitment, Minister Fitzgerald challenged recipients to not only maintain a personal standard in education, but by extension an international standard of excellence.

“This upcoming semester, when you find yourself buried beneath a mountain of books or when you find yourself in a lab that is demanding and taking everything out of you, or when you understand not one word coming out of your Professors mouth, just keep the faith and remember that we, the Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and your College or University, believe in you. We believe in spending the resources to develop each and every one of you and we hope that you go on to develop yourselves, and then come back and create a stronger and more modern nation right here in our small, but mighty country,” said Mr. Fitzgerald.

“We are counting on your research, innovation, and enterprise so that we are able to continue this cycle of giving and continue to improve our society and our economy at large,” he continued.

Meantime, Director of Education Lionel Sands admonished the group to be thankful for such a rare opportunity.

The awardees would have achieved a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.75 for Technical & Vocational studies and a Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher in other academic areas; including at least four BGCSE’s with C grades and above.

The scholarship equate to a maximum of $7,500 to $10,000 per year over a duration of four years.

To date 76 students have benefitted from the scholars programme.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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