Minister of Education Jonel Powell (center), Resident Taiwanese Ambassador Tom Lee (third from left) and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education William Hodge (end left) seen with scholarship recipients of the Cotton Thomas Comprehensive School (formerly Special Education Unit) and school representatives (Spokesman Snap)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 4th December 2020)-Resident Taiwan Ambassador Tom Lee is encouraging the 2020 recipients of the Annual Monetary Taiwanese Scholarship to see the value of thriving for academic excellence for future success.

In his address at this year’s ceremony held on Wednesday 2nd December at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Auditorium, he talked about having listened to the radio that morning and hearing a song about health is wealth.

Students of the Basseterre High School Orchestra brought  Christmas carolling vibes playing the popular tune ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ at the occasion of the Annual Monetary Taiwanese Scholarship Ceremony held on Wednesday 2nd December 2020 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Auditorium. Here they pose for a Spokesman Snap following their performance.

Ambassador Lee then used the occasion to modify the lyrical message to suit the academic event saying: “Health is wealth and when you look at the mirror…you are responsible for your health. Education is wealth. If you look at the mirror you are the one responsible for your studies.”
He continued: “There is no doubt that education is your wealth. Education is your passport to your future and it is also the key to your success. Students don’t forget that you are also responsible for your success. Your parents cannot do it for you, your teachers cannot do it for you; they can only help you so I want to encourage you to continue your good jobs… don’t forget our Government also provides scholarships for you to pursue higher education so I would like to encourage you to apply for a scholarship in the future.“

A total of 174 students of  the federation collectively from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions are the 2020 recipients with 130 from St.Kitts and 44 from Nevis.

As gathered by this media house, first former students receive over EC$500, for students in high school going on to college (sixth form) over EC$1000 and those from Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) and Teachers Education division at CFBC receive almost EC$3000.

Minister of Education Jonel Powell stated that the government and people of the federation are eternally grateful for the generosity and courtesy extended by the Taiwanese government.

“Through collaborations such as these, the government is able to fulfill its mandate to provide avenues to which its people may empower themselves,” he commented.

In speaking to the scholarship recipients, the Education Minister encouraged: “This is not the end of the road. Your journey continues. A greater level of commitment is required if you want to excel…”
Additionally, he offered five tips for success to the namely in the areas of: Take responsibility for your education, Manage your time, Ask for help when needed, Be present and prompt at all classes and Do not quit.
Chief Education Officer Dr. Debbie Isaac, who is a former Education Officer attached to the programme which has been in place for over 10 years, applauded the scholarships being distributed during challenging times amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

As understood, students are selected based on socio-economic conditions.
“In terms of the selection of our students, they are selected by two criterion that we use. They have to work hard academically but more so they are students who need the extra help. There is a form that they have to fill out,” she informed during an interview with this media house.

In describing the monetary scholarship programme as a “genuine act by the people and government of the Republic of China (Taiwan)”, she touched on the relief such presents for parents who may be affected by job layoffs as well as for some other reasons may have setbacks noting “and so their child or children would be affected so this came in at a really good time and it would help with the buying of school supplies for the upcoming new term and onward…”