Ronald Jones, Minister of Education and??Human Resource Development, chats with??Scholarship, Exhibition and Awards of Merit recipients, today, at a press conference??at the Ministry, Elsie Payne Complex,??Constitution Road, St. Michael. (C.Pitt/BGIS)??

This year’s crop of Barbados Scholarship, Exhibition and awards of merit recipients, have been reminded that the country has made a significant investment in them, and have been urged to continue to do well and be ambassadors for the island.??

This reminder came today from Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, as he addressed the 44 awardees and their parents and guardians in the Main Conference Room of the Ministry of Education, Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St. Michael. ??

Mr. Jones noted that this country had always kept young people and their education in focus, regardless of scarce resources.?? "Education takes the largest percentage of Government’s expenditure… It takes about 20-21 per cent per year… It is every year, over half of a billion dollars… and it is never enough.?? We have to, as my foreparents say, ???cut and contrive’," he remarked.????

He noted that over the years, Government had changed the criteria for the award of scholarships and exhibitions.

"…And I have always been proud to note that Barbadian students have stepped up whenever you raised the criteria.?? That is testimony that when you raise the bar people reach the bar because of determination and focus.?? We have not adjusted the criteria in a number of years.?? I believe the last time would have been in the mid-to-late 1990’s … and I remember then when it was changed I was still teaching and I said this seems a bit onerous but then I resolved that persons would reach the bar.?? And persons continue to reach the bar… Scholarships and exhibitions are awarded at the narrowest peak of the learning pyramid and that is where you find yourselves today," he said.??

Mr. Jones also divulged that Government was looking at the issue of bonding of scholarship recipients.?? "We are up to now still bonding persons to return to Barbados to give of their knowledge. But, we believe that all citizens must be treated in the same way.?? Persons who don’t get scholarships, exhibitions or awards of merit are not bonded. They go and they study and when they finish they can leave.?? So, that is now under careful consideration… we have not yet taken that decision… but until that decision is taken you have to sign the bonding form," he stated, pointed out that the quantum for exhibitions was also on the card for review.??

This year, Queen’s College earned 10 scholarships and nine exhibitions; Harrison College, 13 scholarships and five exhibitions; the Lodge School, one scholarship; Combermere School, one exhibition; and Barbados Community College three exhibitions and the two Awards of Excellence.


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