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Bartlett’s education fund provides US$20,000 in scholarships for eight teachers

Published:Friday | January 20, 2023 | 12:56 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) is escorted by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (left)  and Godfrey Dyer, chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, to the East Central St James Education Fund’s 25th anniversary dinner, held at the Half Moon Confer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) is escorted by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (left) and Godfrey Dyer, chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, to the East Central St James Education Fund’s 25th anniversary dinner, held at the Half Moon Conference Centre on January 14.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Eight aspiring early-childhood and family life educators are to benefit from US$20,000 in scholarship money being awarded by Edmund Bartlett, member of parliament through his East Central St James Education Fund.

Bartlett announced the scholarships at the launch of his Early Childhood Development Centre for Innovation during a gala fundraising dinner at the Half Moon Conference Centre in St James last week, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the education fund.

Tenable at The University of the West Indies, the recipients will be drawn largely from among residents in the East Central St James constituency.

“I will be carving out US$20,000 from the proceeds of this event, to offer eight scholarships for early-childhood education development. Three [of these] scholarships are for a bachelor’s degree in early-childhood and family life education from The University of the West Indies Open Campus, and five scholarships that will lead to a certificate in early-childhood education and family life,” Bartlett said, while noting that all eight scholarships will begin this August.

“The intention of the five is to enable them to complete their certification in time for the opening of this innovation centre. And then, of course, within the next two years, the first cadre of graduates will come on stream as teachers, and as tutors and guidance counsellors within the frame of that institution,” explained Barlett.

The Early Childhood Development Centre for innovation, which will be built on one acre of land in Barrett Town at a cost of US$1.5 million, is scheduled to be completed and ready for the 2023-2024 academic school year starting this September, and will form part of the legacy of Barlett, who has contributed significantly to the field of education in the constituency over the last 20 years.

According to Bartlett, as part of ensuring the continuity of the operation of the Centre for Innovation, a special team, to be named shortly, will be established to manage the institution in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

“It (Centre for Innovation) will be taken out of the formal east central education programme and be made into an entity unto itself, funded independently, supported independently, and is able to survive my own tenure, as long as that may be, in East Central St James,” he said.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was the keynote speaker at the fundraising event, praised Bartlett for his work in the field of education through his education fund.

He acknowledged that this East Central education programme has resulted in more than 10,000 primary, secondary and tertiary students benefiting from scholarships valued at approximately $60 million over these years, graduating with various degrees from all the major universities in Jamaica, and who are now working as lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, and pastors, among a long list of other professions.

“Investing in education is a very good way of ensuring that your legacy is marked,” Holness said, while noting that Bartlett’s legacy project is an important one, as it is probably the longest-lasting legacy that one can invest in, referencing his early Childhood Development Centre for Innovation.

“It lives on, beyond people, especially if you build good infrastructure,” the prime minister said.