Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
Member of Parliament (MP) for East Central St James, Edmund Bartlett, has committed two three-year $100,000 scholarships for mathematics teachers to work in the constituency's two high schools: Spot Valley High and Irwin High.
"I have taken a position for East Central St James, as part of our legacy programme for Jamaica's 50th anniversary as well, to focus a little more on mathematics and the teaching of mathematics, particularly in the two high schools I have in the constituency," he said.
"As a result, I'm giving a scholarship this year, valued at $100,000, for two teachers who will specialise in mathematics to come back and teach in those two schools. The value will, of course, be $300,000 over the three years - $100,000 a year. They must come back to teach in those schools for at least three years."
Bartlett, who is also the opposition spokesman on tourism, was speaking at the annual East Central St James Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) awards ceremony at the Montego Bay Civic Centre on Sunday.
The MP said his decision was prompted by the revelation of students' declining performance levels in English language and mathematics in 2011.
Some 164 students from 16 primary and all-age schools in the constituency were presented with trophies for outstanding performance in the 2012 GSAT examinations.
Trimone Kelly of Somerton All-Age School was the constituency's top GSAT girl, with a 97 per cent average. Nickel Innis of Dumfries Primary School was the top-performing boy, with a 96 per cent average.
STUDENTS GET SCHOLARSHIPS
Four students from Spot Valley High - Sasheena Harding, Shavca Bucknor, Darien Hylton, and Akwane Sylvester - were also awarded scholarships to the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology.
In commemoration of Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence, 50 students will also receive scholarships through Bartlett's partnership with Italian real-estate developer James Goren.
"Children, you are the future, and we are the past. It is inconceivable that in the year 2012 some of you that have the capacity to excel in school do not have the means," said Goren, who is behind the Holland Estate development.
"For this reason, I accepted the challenge of Mr Bartlett, and I am going to award 50 scholarships for you guys to stay in school."
CAPTION: From left: Edmund Bartlett, member of parliament for East Central St James, congratulates Trimone Kelly of Somerton All-Age School, who got the constituency's highest Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) average of 97 per cent for this year. Also pictured are real-estate developer James Goren and the Ministry of Education Region Four Director Hilary Foster. One hundred and sixty-four primary and all-age school students from East Central St James were awarded for excellence in the GSAT exams at the Montego Bay Civic Centre on Sunday. - Photo by Christopher Thomas