September 5, 2014
ULP candidate launches ACE programme to assist college students

Unity Labour Party candidate for North Leeward in the next general election, Carlos James, believes that more support is needed for students from rural communities who attend post-secondary institutions here.{{more}}

James made this disclosure while handing over bursaries to students from the North Leeward community who are enrolled at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College.

The donations were made as part of the Access to College Education Programme (ACEP), which is the first formal programme to be launched at a tertiary education level in North Leeward.

According to James, the programme is a formalised way of ensuring there are equal opportunities for students from the North Leeward constituency in accessing post-secondary education.

“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.

According to James, some students had their tuition covered from as much as 50 to 100 per cent in some cases, while some of the students benefitted from a travel bursary through the Office of the Prime Minister.

“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,” James noted.

While the formal structure of 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 certain representatives and other candidates assist in a similar capacity, 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 said.

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 in 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 people in North Leeward. “I wanted to enrol into the teacher’s college since last year, but I had other siblings who were attending school and it was difficult for me to enrol, 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 helping us,” Edwards noted.

James, who was named the caretaker for the North Leeward constituency just over a month ago, stated that 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.