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United Kingdom education fair kicks off next week in Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | February 25, 2015 | 12:00 AMRichard Mitchell

Next week, Jamaicans will be able to get up close and personal with schools from the United Kingdom (UK) as the British High Commission will be hosting its inaugural Higher Education and Skills Fair.

The education fair, which is open to schools and the general public, will host 14 schools from the UK, and will take place on March 3, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

There will be no cost to attend.

At the fair, interested persons will be given the opportunity to discuss the process of applying to UK schools, financing and scholarship options, and visa counselling.

British High Commissioner David Fitton described the new education initiative as a "wonderful opportunity" and explained the fair's various components.

"The fair has two main components, where we want to encourage Jamaicans to explore options. This includes not only studying in the UK, but distance learning as well," Fitton said.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for fifth- and sixth-form students, those who are planning post-graduate studies, or for working people to certify and upgrade their skills," he continued.

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, who was present for the launch of the fair on Monday, lauded the high commission's new education initiative and described the United Kingdom education system as having a "well-established pedigree". The minister also reminded those present of the long-standing relationship Jamaica has had with the United Kingdom.

"This (new initiative) is part of a long tradition; long before the University of the West Indies began. It was a distance education system that gave a bachelor's degree to Sir Philip Sherlock, to the Honourable Edwin Allen and a whole history of Jamaican leaders."

Deputy British High Commissioner to Jamaica Julia Sutherland revealed that the various scholarships available to Jamaicans include school-specific scholarships, and the high commission-supported Chevening Scholarship.

Sutherland revealed that Jamaica would this year be receiving an increase in the number of persons awarded scholarships; moving from three last year to 10.