More students from the North Leeward constituency will now have the opportunity to access post-secondary education thanks to the Access to College Education Programme (ACEP).
The initiative, which is spearheaded by Unity Labour Party candidate for North Leeward Carlos James, is a formalised way of ensuring there are equal opportunities for students from the North Leeward constituency in accessing post-secondary education.
Under the programme, students had their tuition covered from as much as 50 to 100 per cent in some cases, while some students benefitted from a travel bursary through the Office of the Prime Minister.
“We had students from North Leeward who were qualified for entry into the Community College but opted for enrolment on the YES programme because they simply could not afford to pay for tuition and travel. Some were at home uncertain as to their next move due to financial limitations. We are putting the supporting measures in place to ensure they have access to the same opportunities as persons from the so-called top tier schools with stronger financial backgrounds,” James said.
While the formal structure to the programme came on stream as a North Leeward initiative, James is hoping that the business community and other constituencies can capitalise and adopt the programme.
“I am pleased to see these students benefit under the education revolution and our access to college education programme only enhances the government’s education policy, but I want this programme to be formalised with the business community playing its part. North Leeward and North Windward are prime areas for such assistance,” James noted.
Chateaubelair resident, Olanzo Louie, believes that without the programme he would have found it difficult to attend the community college.
“I was able to enrol on the programme and was assisted with tuition and a bursary, which will go a long way in assisting me financially. Now I can spend more time focusing on my studies,” Louie said.
Another recipient of ACEP, Kaylon Hooper, hailed the programme as a vital one for young persons in North Leeward.
“I wanted to enrol in the teacher’s college since last year, but I had other siblings who were attending school and it was difficult for me, thanks to ACEP I am able to further my dream in becoming a teacher. I am now enrolled at the teacher’s college,” Hooper noted.
Meanwhile, Morani Edwards another recipient of the programme said that the ACEP initiative is a plus for youths in North Leeward. “I was on the YES programme last year and I was encouraged to enrol just the last week before college when I learnt about the Access to College Education Programme. I am grateful to the principal of the Rose Hall government school Janice Cyrus-Lewis, teacher Kenneth Holder and Mr. James for helping us,” Edwards noted.
James, who was named the caretaker for the North Leeward constituency just over month ago, said he is hoping to develop the programme on a larger scale next year.
“I am hoping to broaden its scope with partnership from various stakeholders. It has the potential to grow from a North Leeward initiative to one that has national focus,” James said.