JNBS Tertiary Scholarship Reception 2008
• Our Chair, Mrs Mary Smith, Chief Risk Officer of the JN
Group Risk Management Unit
• Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee, Director, Mona GeoInformatics
Institute, our Guest Speaker
• Mrs Carmen Tipling, JN Group Communications Executive
• JN Scholars
• Parents and Guardians of our Scholars
• Representatives of The University of the West Indies,
The University of Technology and Northern Caribbean
• Fellow JN Colleagues
Thank you all for accepting our invitation to join us this morning for this inaugural tertiary scholarship reception.
Two years ago we reintroduced the concept of bringing our annual scholarship recipients together to meet with the JN team and we began with the GSAT scholars. Further to that was the decision to develop a scholarship programme through which we could highlight and celebrate the achievements of young persons like yourselves to whom we have given some level of financial assistance.
Today, two weeks ago, we were here saluting our young high school scholars who achieved averages of more than 85 per cent on the Grade Six Achievement Test. This was the second consecutive year that we brought our young scholars together in that fashion, and so we felt it was fitting that we give similar recognition to our tertiary students.
I extend congratulations on behalf of the JN team to you, the 2008 JN Scholarship recipients from The University of the West Indies, Northern Caribbean University and the University of Technology. Through your hard work and sheer determination, you have achieved excellent grade point averages, which make you worthy recipients of these scholarships and bursaries.
Jamaica National is indeed proud to be a partner in education wherever the opportunity presents itself. Today, we are pleased to be able to provide you with this level of financial assistance, which characterizes our support to the educational sector from the primary level right through to post-graduate studies.
As I told our young GSAT scholars two Sundays ago, Jamaica National is attracted to bright young minds. I am aware from discussions with members of the Corporate Communications team who participated in your selection interviews that you were among the brightest of the groups of outstanding students who were shortlisted for these scholarships and bursaries.
Therefore, we see in you, ladies and gentlemen, is enormous potential … potential which, when combined with proper financial support and the high quality education you are currently receiving, will redound to great benefit for your community, and our country at large. And as a financial organization, we are more than pleased to provide you with this opportunity to reach for the stars.
FACILITATING FINANCIAL LITERACY
And while facilitating your ambitions to achieve your maximum potential, we also believe it is equally important to cultivate an appreciation for the importance of saving and financial literacy.
We live in a world driven by free market enterprise, and there is less and less focus on important issues—such as budgeting and planning, accounting for expenses and saving, which should all be a part of our normal routine. As such, it is essential that much be done to establish fundamental financial principles in the lives of our students.
This is particularly significant given the recent findings by a team from one of your institutions, the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication, CARIMAC, in a project they undertook in 12 secondary schools across the island. It reaffirmed what we knew … that many of our students do not have a full appreciation of the importance of proper financial management; therefore, saving is not regarded as an important habit to cultivate.
George Carl, Chair of the USA’s National Certified Professional Accountants Financial Literacy Commission states that:
“Financial literacy is not an end in itself, but a step-by-step process. It begins in childhood and continues throughout a person’s life all the way to retirement. Instilling the financial-literacy message in children is especially important because they will carry it for the rest of their lives.”
This is what we are aiming to do through our collaboration with students in educational institutions, thereby, reinforcing the adage, of not only giving a man a fish, but also teaching him how to fish.
JN SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME:
Our JN Scholarship programme provides an opportunity for us to reinforce our commitment of not only extending a helping hand, but also in spreading the importance of financial:
1. It gives us an opportunity to provide tangible assistance to our existing members; and
2. It helps us to foster a continued relationship with our young savers, as some of you I am sure, have had your accounts for several years.
Your scholarship is a part of our JNBS Scholarship programme, which we operate at high schools and universities. And you … our JN Scholars have started out on the right path that can move you right through our Scholarship programme.
The first phase of this Scholarship programme constitutes the scholarship award to the top students, in each parish, who have done well in the GSAT. And since we began in 1983, more than…. students have received scholarships through this programme.
And we anticipate a continued relationship with these students given that the second phase of the programme is for students at the tertiary level, such as you. And, we have assisted approximately 65 university-level students in this way over the past five years.
And we’ve taken this one step further, beyond graduate studies, to post-graduate studies. Since last year, we introduced another element to the scholarship programme, where we offer a million-dollar scholarship to a student pursuing a Masters Degree in Business Administration programme at the Mona School of Business. And several weeks ago, we were pleased to present this year’s million-dollar scholarship to our second recipient, Mr Twayson Laird, who is also being recognized today.
It is our intention to create lasting relationships starting at the primary school level and being educational partners with our scholarship recipients throughout their tertiary education.
CHALLENGE TO STUDENTS …. GIVE BACK TO SOCIETY
I challenge you as recipients of the JN scholarship programme to be willing to give back to some other student, who ten years from now, may be in a similar situation and needs to turn to someone for assistance. However, that assistance cannot be forthcoming if you’re not here to provide it.
In essence, I challenge you not to be swayed by the factors which pulls away bright young minds from Jamaica, and stymies the development of our country due to migration by our young professionals.
Jamaica is currently among the top 20 countries accounting for immigrants in the USA which has received 83.9% and 74.4% of Jamaican emigrants in 2002 and 2003 respectively. And our young professionals – medical personnel, educators, business administrators, information technology specialists – continue to head the list of these persons leaving the country.
A World Bank Study, released in October 2005 showed that the Caribbean is among small developing countries that are losing a staggering number of their university educated workers to wealthy nations. The study revealed a disturbing pattern of ‘brain drain’ of skilled middle-class workers who could assist in lifting this country out of poverty. Economists warn that such migration plays a significant role in a country’s development.
I urge you to make the opportunity provided to you today be similar for other young students to access educational assistance through your instrumentality in the organizations in which you will be employed.
Congratulations once again on being the 2008 JN Tertiary Scholarship recipients.
We are pleased to have you with us, and once again, thank you for coming. I look forward to the continued relationships which will be cemented from today.
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