Bartlett earmarks $1-m from Welfare Fund for PEP textbooks

Observer West reporter

Thursday, September 06, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Member of Parliament Edmund Bartlett says roughly 10 per cent of the $10.4 million earmarked for spending from his 2018 East Central St James Scholarship and Welfare Fund (ECSTSWF), will go towards the purchase of Primary Exit Profile (PEP) textbooks for students in the 14 primary schools in his constituency.

PEP will replace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) this academic year.

“Just for books, we are spending $1million with a series of vouchers that we are giving out of course for the PEP text books, because we want Jamaica to understand that this (PEP) is indeed a revolutionary programme,” Bartlett stated.

Bartlett, who is also minister of tourism, argued that because of its emphasis on critical thinking, when the students who have done the exam join the workforce, including the tourism sector, they are likely to become innovators.

“Our workers that we are producing, and that will come from this PEP programme, is going to understand, not only how to apply and to be competent in a single job situation, but will be agile and adoptive to circumstances around them in their workplace, so that they can be relevant,” the tourism minister said.

“And it is that relevance that will make the difference between growth and stagnation and it is that relevance which creates the competitive edge in a highly competitive globalised workplace that Jamaica, as small as we are, is a part of.”

He argued that tourism is driven by innovation and so he fully endorses the primary school exam.

“We want to welcome this initiative by the Ministry of Education and our minister because tourism is about innovation, it's about new ideas, it's about always thinking of new experiences and bringing people into a new appreciation of what our environment has to offer. It's about building resilience, capacity to do more and to add value to our own positions,” Bartlett argued.

He was speaking at the 21st ECSTSWF awards for tertiary students at the Iberostar Hotel in St James recently.

The ECSTSWF offers support for students in the constituency from the primary up to the tertiary level.

This year the lion's share of the $10.4 million budget was set aside for tertiary students' scholarships.

“This year we are spending $10.4 million on the education programme, the tertiary support is $6.8 million. I want tertiary beneficiaries to appreciate that you have a disproportionately large percentage of our expenditure in education in the constituency and it is because we put a lot of emphasis on you coming back into the area to be value carriers and sowers of influence to enable those who are coming up to appreciate where they can go and where they must aspire,” Bartlett remarked.

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