A hundred children of policemen who are either currently serving, have been injured while on duty, or have died, have been granted scholarships for their tertiary education by the Ministry of National Security in partnership with the Jamaica Police Federation.
Each scholarship is valued at $200,000 per year over three years, based on each student achieving and maintaining a 3.0 grade point average annually. The awards ceremony took place on September 29 at Curphey Place in Swallowfield.
The keynote speaker, Minister of National Security Robert Montague, said whereas education was a tool for upward mobility, the major achievement comes when the student figures out what to do with that education to better himself or herself. The minister said bachelor's degrees are a dime a dozen today, so each student had to find ways to enhance that education for marketability.
"Don't rely solely on your education to take you to your destination. Rather, use it as a stepping stone. Apply the education to your environment. Volunteer with an organisation with which you want to work and get experience. Choose your mentor, don't wait on a mentor to choose you," he told the awardees.
According to Montague, students should be forward-thinking.
"Many young people are qualified, but jobless. So, even as you pursue your studies, be strategic and think about the opportunities available to you," he continued.
Montague called on the scholarship winners to take advantage of resources available to address issues and barriers that may prevent success.
"Your parents and teachers have a wealth of experience and can provide useful advice. There is also the Internet, which has evolved to becoming the greatest platform for independence and self-growth. Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have become not only tools for self-expression and socialisation among the youth, but have become a career launching pad for persons who are now social media personalities," he noted. It was also pointed out that popular blogger 'Dutty Berry' was one such scholarship recipient who went on to make a name for himself outside of the discipline he studied.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Sergeant Raymond Wilson, chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation (JPF), called on parents of the scholarship awardees to recognise their duty to ensure that their children are taught the meaning of self-esteem and civic responsibility.
"Your children must learn to develop their own prototype and make the sky the limit," he said.
Sergeant Cecil McCalla, general secretary of the JPF, said since the scholarship was introduced in 2003, 652 scholarships had been presented. As an example of the outstanding achievements of some scholarship winners, he cited one student from Rae Town with nine grade one subjects at CXC and four As at the CAPE level who was among the first recipients and who went on to qualify as a medical doctor.
Students awarded were from several tertiary institutions, including the University of the West Indies, University of Technology, Northern Caribbean University, Caribbean Maritime Institute, Portmore College, The Mico University College and Sam Sharpe Teachers' College. The students were from various fields of study, including engineering, animation and design, medicine, law, nursing, teaching, among others.
The minister has pledged to consider extending the scholarship to cover a fourth year, where the degrees are for that period and the students maintains or surpasses a 3.0 grade point average.