Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Spanish Jamaican Foundation awards $4.5 million in bursaries

Published:Sunday | April 18, 2021 | 4:18 PM
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams (contributed photo)

A total of 51 students from nine tertiary institutions, who are facing financial difficulties, have been awarded bursaries totalling $4.5 million, courtesy of the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation (SJF).

The recipients, who include pre-trained Spanish teachers, persons who study Spanish, and students of hospitality services, were selected based on their academic performance, financial need, community service, knowledge of the Spanish language, and comportment in an interview.

They are from the Shortwood Teachers’ College, Church Teachers’ College, Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, Montego Bay Community College, HEART College of Hospitality Services, University of the West Indies, Brown’s Town Community College, and Bethlehem Moravian College.

The students from teachers and community colleges will benefit from partial scholarships to assist with the payment of their school fees, while students of the HEART College of Hospitality Services are being provided with funds to purchase tools and equipment necessary for their courses of study.

The bursaries were handed over during a virtual ceremony on Friday.

In his address during the event, Spanish Ambassador and SJF President, His Excellency Diego Bermejo, noted that the issuance of bursaries began in 2012 as part of the Foundation’s effort to support the teaching and learning of Spanish and to assist students facing challenges accessing tertiary education.

He noted that in light of rising tuition fees, and the recent challenges faced by Jamaican families, the overall bursary allocation was increased for this academic year.

For her part, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams thanked the SJF, “for the work, you continue to do to foster partnerships between Spain and Jamaica, on matters of educational, cultural, environmental and community development initiatives”.

“These partnerships are instrumental in forging and maintaining relationships that redound to the benefit of the citizens of both countries,” she added.

Williams reiterated her commitment as Minister of Education, Youth, and Information, to ensure that access to education “maintains its upward trajectory among our citizens” especially as the country continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I believe that the pandemic has exposed some of the challenges in our education system, but it has also given us the opportunity to use our collective efforts to address them. One way in which we can increase access to education is by providing greater avenues for our students to utilise partnerships such as the ones made available through the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation,” she said.

Williams pointed out that the Tertiary Unit at the Education Ministry also provides guidance, scholarships, and boarding grants to those who want to access tertiary education.

“We are undaunted in our efforts to increase access to education…Greater access means greater spending and the government continues to allocate the largest share of our budget, outside of interest on loans, to education,” she said.

The Education Minister pointed out that for this fiscal year, $114 billion is allocated to education, noting that in the worst health crisis in 100 years, Jamaica continues to place education as its number one priority expenditure.

“This investment along with the support from bodies such as the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation means that our students stand to benefit immensely,” she said.

The SJF is a non-profit organisation (NGO) that was established in 2006 by Spanish investors in Jamaica.

Its main objective is to strengthen the relationship between Spain and Jamaica through the promotion and implementation of social, educational, cultural, environmental, and health-based initiatives that contribute to community development and increase the well-being of the Jamaican people.

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