PM Applauds Vibrant National Bursary Scholarship Initiative

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said Saturday that the ceremony that evening awarding 417 recipients National Bursary Scholarships to the College of The Bahamas held “much significance,” as those students would be a part of an historic milestone of the institution: its development into the University of The Bahamas.

“Cognizant of the need to provide opportunities for deserving young Bahamians to have access to tertiary education, The Government of The Bahamas has made available this Bursary scholarship, specifically for the College of The Bahamas, so that more of our students can be provided with an opportunity to pursue tertiary education at home,” Prime Minister Christie said during the 2016 National Bursary Scholar Award Ceremony at the Harry C. Moore Library on the Nassau campus.

Prime Minister Christie pointed out that the scholarships awarded at that time were valued at approximately $2,500 per student, per semester.

“That equates to $5,000 per student, per year,” he said.  “If we multiply that by the 417 students receiving this award tonight, this represents a total of $2,085,000 per year, paid to the College of The Bahamas from the central government, for these deserving recipients.”

Prime Minister Christie also expressed his “sincere gratitude” to the Minister of Education, Science and Technology the Hon. Jerome K. Fitzgerald for his “active participation and advocacy” for more and more access by our students to higher education and his determination to seek more and more funding to achieve this goal.

“I can say unequivocally that he has a passion for education, particularly for those students who demonstrate their ability to matriculate to university level,” Prime Minister Christie said.

Under Minister Fitzgerald’s leadership, the investment in scholarships has increased significantly, as he has more than doubled the budget allocation for scholarships, Prime Minister Christie added.

“Minister Fitzgerald, as the Government’s point man on education is carrying out with the full support of the Government of the Bahamas a key provision in our Charter of Governance and that is ensuring access to tertiary education for each and every Bahamian,” Prime Minister Christie noted.

“Let me state, unequivocally, that we are serious about equity in education and despite competing demands, we have increased scholarship opportunities for students by increasing the Government’s investment in scholarships.”

Prime Minister Christie commended the professionals in Minister Fitzgerald’s Ministry for a job well done in the processing, objective analysis and determination of the process that had resulted in the young people being there that evening.

“It is always a herculean effort and one which by its very nature must take place over a compressed period of time,” he said.  “Thank you all very much.”

Prime Minister Christie said that was “so good” to see so many parents and guardians and supporting relatives here this evening.

“You would have been an integral part of your student’s success and you should be elated that another step in your child’s journey is beginning,” Prime Minister Christie said.

“To the parents and guardians who have struggled and sacrificed to provide the best opportunities for their students,” he added.  “I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate you for being a partner with the Government in the education of your sons and daughters.

“I use the word partnership because all education is about a partnership between the student, the teacher and that most vital of link, the parents.”

Prime Minister Christie said that it was well-known that the defining factor between students who succeed and those who do not, is parental involvement.

“Far too many parents, for varying reasons, have not provided the support that is required in their child’s educational journey,” he stated.  “Parents and guardians you are duly deserving of praise and we hope that this Bursary Award will help to make your load a little lighter and be as an incentive for other siblings to follow.”

“We need more parents who are serious about the present and future successes of their children. Poor parenting results in poor academic performance by students, while excellent and deliberate parenting produce exceptional students.”

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