It’s that time of year again! Common Entrance Examination results have been released. And although through Universal Secondary Education all students taking the exam should get into a secondary school, there is a lot of excitement and anxiety about the results as students, and their parents, agonise over whether they had made it to their school of first choice.
Federico Mayor, a former Director General of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), is quoted as saying “Education is the single most powerful means to improve the quality of life... the single most powerful weapon against poverty and intolerance. Education builds a culture of peace ... it empowers human beings, both young and adult, to be effective in their chosen sphere of activity ... education in its essence, opens doors to both personal and social development.”
In many respects, these sentiments represent some of the objectives of LUCELEC’s scholarship programmes. The Company currently has two scholarship programmes – the Secondary School Scholarship Programme for children of employees and the Bernard C. Theobalds Scholarship open to the public to pursue university studies.
The Secondary School Scholarship Programme started in 1985. Since then, the programme has been refined and improved to meet the needs of the students and reward them for their performance. Each year between five and ten students (the top performers among the applicants) are taken into the programme. There are currently 26 students in the Secondary School Scholarship Programme, and in total, nearly 100 students have benefitted from the programme to date.
LUCELEC has made concerted efforts to provide a comprehensive and attractive scholarship package to the children of employees. The scholarship covers all approved textbooks, mathematical set, facilities fees, CXC Examination fees and uniforms, and the Company provides each recipient with a school bag and notebooks. The scholarship is available for the students’ entire journey through secondary school (including the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College) providing students maintain acceptable levels of performance and educational achievement. LUCELEC’s Human Resource Department also works closely with the parents to support students whose performance levels may be declining to ensure that these students can get their grades back up to the standards required to stay in the programme.
LUCELEC also provides a Late Bloomer Programme as part of its Secondary School Scholarship Programme. The Late Bloomer Programme awards scholarships to children of current employees who may not have qualified for a LUCELEC scholarship based on their performance at the Common Entrance Examinations, but have improved and now maintain a satisfactory performance at Secondary School (an average of 70% and above).
The Bernard C. Theobalds (BCT) Scholarship was established in 2004 in recognition of the contribution Mr. Bernard Theobalds (former Managing Director) made to the Company during his 26 years of service, and to encourage students to pursue an education at the University of the West Indies for a career in the field of Engineering. The scholarship is open to all St. Lucians, is awarded every 3 years, and covers all costs associated with the degree programme. In 2008, Mr. Denny Raymond, the first recipient of this scholarship, successfully completed his degree programme and is now applying his knowledge at LUCELEC as part of the engineering team. The second scholarship was awarded to Miss Abigail Pascal who is currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at UWI. She will be entering her final year in September 2011. LUCELEC will award another BCT Scholarship in 2012.
Through its scholarship programmes LUCELEC is, therefore, providing the single most powerful means to improve the quality of life... the single most powerful weapon against poverty and intolerance… helping to build a culture of peace ... empowering young people to be effective in their chosen sphere of activity ... in essence, opening doors to both personal and social development.
LUCELEC’s scholarship programmes are, therefore, another way of staying true to a significant component of the Company’s mission – being a catalyst for social and economic development.