Education Ministry Grants Scholarships to
Trainee Teachers of Maths and Science
October 11 2015:
THE MINISTRY of Education has awarded mathematics and science education scholarships valued at $14 million to 51 persons pursuing degree programmes at teacher-training institutions across the island commencing this academic year.
Of the total scholarship awardees 42 received full tuition, four received tuition and boarding, while the remaining five received partial tuition funding.
Speaking recently at the official presentation of the scholarships Education Minister Ronald Thwaites pointed out that the country urgently required qualified, competent and zealous mathematics teachers with the requisite knowledge and academic skills to take the quantum leap necessary to teach the subject.
Minister Thwaites disclosed that at the latest count the country has lost 70 to 80 of its mathematics and science teachers to overseas employment, which underscored the need to train and incentivize persons who are still here and wish to teach these subjects.
The Education Minister maintained that insufficient mathematics specialists in schools, poor teaching and teacher qualification remain some of the major factors contributing to the country’s underperformance in the subject, mastery of which, he noted, is critical to the country’s current development pursuit.
According to National Mathematics Coordinator Dr. Tamika Benjamin each awardee must maintain at least a B average throughout the programme of study, and will be bonded to the government upon graduation. The Ministry will place these graduates in schools that will need their support and the expertise that they will have gained over the period of their training,” Dr. Benjamin added.
An elated Orlando Roberts, third year student at the Shortwood Teachers’ College, said he was relieved following his acceptance to the scholarship programme. “A huge load has been removed from my back. I can get a good night’s rest now and I can concentrate better on my studies,” Roberts said.
For nineteen year-old Chavelle Bennett, a student of the Mico University College, mathematics helps to develop many skills used in every aspect of life. “Mathematics is everywhere. It makes you gain and understand so many skills including reasoning and analytical skills; and broadens your scope of thinking,” Bennett said.
She received a full scholarship for which she is also grateful. “I am extremely happy. It is a huge load that has been released. All the stress about paying my school fee is gone,” Bennett said.
An overwhelmed Collin Dixon, a student of the Church Teachers’ College in Mandeville, said mathematics for him is not just a subject; he loves it. “Mathematics helps to develop the mind, reasoning ability and skills. I am happy that I received a full scholarship. I will be able to work even harder and one day I will be able to pass on the knowledge I will gain to my students,” Dixon said.
The Jamaica National Building Society is a partner in the Ministry’s scholarship programme.