Jamaica has problems yes! But we all can’t just talk about the problems and pretend as if there are no positives. The following are some of my experiences which cause me to see Jamaica in a very positive light:
1. Up to grade 5 I could hardly read or write – I subsequently met some outstanding teachers who went above and beyond the call of duty and by the time I graduated from high school I had improved so much I had a full scholarship waiting on me to attend a university in England (though I couldn’t take up the offer due to illness)
2. When it was time to undergo an operation relating to the illness mentioned above – I had no money – an excellent Dr Francis (consultant at that) decided to do the surgery free of cost!!!
3. When I recovered I decided I wanted to take on tertiary studies – I could not afford the fees!! The Student Loan Bureau (SLB) and the National Reserve of the Jamaican Army were my rescuers however at that time SLB only covered full tuition for UTECH and UWI students and the army only assigned reserves on a needs basis and as such opportunities to earn was limited. I was therefore saddled with a huge portion of the tuition fees and there seem no way out.
4. With respect to item 3 above a good Jamaican who was a total stranger at the time offered me a part-time job out of the blues so that I could earn enough money to pay my tuition fees, purchase books, meals and take care of transportation and other cost relating to my studies
5. As a result of items 1-4 I graduated with a degree and was valedictorian for my graduating class.
6. The same year I finished undergrad I was accepted into a masters programme and I started out with mere faith – not knowing where the money would come from to complete – a friend of mine told me about CHASE funds – I applied and won a scholarship to cover the entire master’s programme
7. Along the path an opportunity arose for me to do a graduate certificate in Global Education in the USA – while I was checking it out I received information the Organization of Latin American and Caribbean States (OACS) that they would fund my participation in the programme in full. At the end of the programme I was selected the valedictorian and I was only one of two black persons out of a cohort of 50 excellent teachers from across the globe.
8. In 2010 I applied to four universities in New Zealand to pursue a PhD and was accepted by all four. I now had to seek funding so I applied for the Common Wealth Scholarship. I was in the top two but lost out to a popular media personality. One of the interviewers pointed me to a NZ university which offers scholarship to international students. I applied and was successful but round about that time my daughter entered the world and I chose to stay in J.A and watch her grow.
9. I have had the distinct advantage of serving in some crucial positions in some of the pioneering institutions which resulted from the National Task Force on Educational Reform 2004
From a boy who could hardly read and write up the Common Entrance/GSAT age, I have the Jamaican teachers/education system to thank for my subsequent development; the SLB for sparing me of some of the burden of tuition fees; A good Jamaican who offered me a part-time job to cover critical expenses; CHASE Funds, the Common Wealth Scholarship Programme; the (OACS) – programmes which are all facilitated by the Jamaican Government!!!
There are indeed a number of agencies in this country which are strategically placed to aid development!
Jamaica has been good to me – thank you Ja!!!!
Ray @ the reins!