Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen has awarded nine tertiary students who participated in the I Believe Initiative’s (IBI) Summer of Service Competition (SOS) with scholarships and grants totaling $9.8 Million. The Scholarship Awards ceremony which is the fourth since the inception of the SOS in 2013, was held at King’s House on Friday, September 2.
In his remarks, Sir Patrick Allen spoke of the increased demand for tertiary education in Jamaica, as more persons recognize its importance to personal success and national competitiveness and growth. However, he said that the need for funding is often appreciated very late and, as such, more planning was needed.
“Unfortunately the reality is that more and early planning is needed to fund tertiary education as funding is often only appreciated by many students at a time when they cannot pay for the tuition to go further,” he stated.
Sir Patrick Allen commended the awardees for their commitment to engaging in voluntary activities when they could have otherwise enjoyed themselves. He described the SOS awardees as “ambitious young persons who are committed to being successful in academics and in their professional careers,” as he applauded them for their personal sacrifice.
He further stated that with some employers requiring work experience of new graduates, by volunteering with partner organizations of the SOS competition, they have gained useful skills and constructive work experience that complement their education. He therefore urged the awardees to build on the foundational experiences gained during the process.
Funding for the SOS scholarships is made possible each year by corporate sponsors in the fields of education, energy, finance and commerce. As in previous years, this year’s recipients will purse Bachelor’s Degree programmes in a variety of areas, most of which reflect an alignment with national STEM priorities for the country’s development.
The objective of the competition is to reward academic excellence while promoting volunteerism. Each participant is required to use their summer holidays in volunteer work and must maintain a 3.0 GPA average during the course of their studies.