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Clarendon students make Thwaites proud

Published:Wednesday | February 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMShanique Samuels

MAY PEN, Clarendon:

Former education minister, the Reverend Ronald Thwaites, was delighted and pleasantly surprised when he was presented with a plaque while at his Kingston-based office recently. The neatly framed colour-coded document contained the names of students and their passes in each subject and the schools they attend.

These students, through the assistance of the former minister, were able to sit their external exams and showed their appreciation by raking in decent passes in all areas. In all, there were 31 grade ones, 61 grade twos and 40 grade threes spread across both Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).

The James and Friends Education Programme paid for more than 40 students from several high schools in Clarendon to sit their CSEC and CAPE exams in 2016. The funds were raised from the hosting of the annual James and Friends charity football match which is sometimes under-supported coupled with the money donated by the education ministry, which was signed off by the minister. James said there were several other students who presented to the programme with a genuine need that the funds couldn't extend to.


"A nuff youth in the parish a go school and when a time fi pay fi exams, their parents can't afford it and so in the end they end up dropping out of school.

"It makes no sense students go to school for five years with the aim of doing external exams at the end and still don't get to take them. I have seen youths who got the opportunity to sit the exams paid for by the programme, who didn't pass all or got only ones, but still they felt good in themselves and were motivated to move on to skills training in an effort to better themselves," James told Rural Xpress.

Each year the subjects paid for by the programme ranges between $500,000- $600,000.

Rev Thwaites noted that when he was approached by James to sponsor a few students he decided to assist because he likes to see children excel educationally and be their best, adding that it would also be very difficult to have a progressive and peaceful society with uneducated youth because education is the only method of upward mobility.