“Work hard and smart.”
That’s the advice given to students by Education Minister, Anthony Boatswain amid the commencement of the exam season in the country.
The Education Minister, who was at the time addressing last week Wednesday’s sitting of the Lower House of Parliament, noted that “thousands of students are now sitting exams, whether at the primary and secondary school, or tertiary level at T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC).
He acknowledged that the “Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), exams have already begun” and hundreds of primary school students are preparing to sit the CPEA today (Friday).
“I want to wish them all the best,” he said.
Minister Boatswain urged the secondary and tertiary level students to “focus more on the quality of the subjects and the grades that they will get rather than the quantity of subjects being written.”
He warned that “in this highly competitive environment, there is no room for mediocrity (as) colleges and universities are insisting that students who wish to gain entry must have at least a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA),” which “might increase because of the high level of competition for limited spaces.”
Minister Boatswain told the sitting that “it is better for a student to write…8 and 10 subjects and get a grade I or even 2, than writing 15 or 16 subjects and getting grades 3 and 4 because those grades will not, regardless to the number of subjects guarantee entry to any reputable institution of learning at a higher level”.
“So this is my advice Mr. Speaker, going forward”, he said, adding that it is also imperative that students “focus on subjects that would be relevant to the development of our country”.
The Education Minister urged students to remember “this is the age of science and technology” and they should take this into consideration in their subject choices.
“We know as a fact that the jobs of tomorrow will be primarily skills based and technology driven and so we expect to see more students writing subjects in those particular areas”, he said.
Pointing to the importance of developing the country’s human resource, Minister Boatswain said that government continues to place great emphasis on developing and improving “our human resource because it is well known that there is a very strong correlation between the quality of human resource and the level of economic growth and development of any country.”
He told the Lower House that more than “91 scholarships have been awarded so far in 2016…with an approximate value of EC$35.6 million,” inclusive of the six (6) Island Scholarships given annually.
He said that “most of the scholarships given are in areas that are aligned to our national priorities…ranging from Health, Accounting and Finance, Psychology, Biology, Management, Business, Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Natural Science, Technical Science, Engineering and Hospitality Management.”
Of the scholarships given, the senior government minister stated that St. George’s University (SGU) provided 62 of them to the tune of $11.5 million, with 15 of those awarded in the field of medicine, 2 Scholarships in the area of Masters in Public Health Management, Veterinary Medicine (2) and at the Undergraduate Level a total of 23 scholarships.”
The Education Minister pointed out that his government will continue to place a lot of emphasis on ensuring that students who are granted scholarships to study abroad are committed to serving the three year bond agreement.
“Our emphasis will be on ensuring that those students return to serve. If there are no opportunities then we can look at relapsing the bond but the first charge must be service to country,” he said.