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PCJ targets 1,500 students for energy programme

Monday, December 09, 2013    

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AIMING to impact more than 1,500 students, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) has kicked off its Schools' Energy Programme for the 2013-2014 academic year, marking the 10th anniversary of the public education initiative.

For the landmark year, the PCJ will be engaging teachers and students from 75 primary and secondary schools across the island. Representatives from participating institutions will have the opportunity to attend training seminars to increase their knowledge of energy issues and solutions.

In addition, students will get practical exposure to the energy industry through tours of local entities involved in various aspects of energy production, including the Petrojam refinery in Kingston, and the Wigton Windfarm in Manchester.

Upon completion of the seminars and tours, the knowledge gained will be put to the test when students will have the opportunity to enter the programme's poster, essay and science competitions.

Traditionally, the competition was open to students from the year's cohort of participating schools. However, to mark the programme's 10th anniversary, the PCJ will be opening up the contest to pupils from the 200 institutions that have participated in the last five years.

Prospective entrants, who will compete for cash prizes, have until next March to make their submissions. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in June 2014.

"The Schools' Energy Programme is the PCJ's main vehicle for sensitising young people to the important role that energy plays in our country's social and economic development," Winston Watson, the PCJ's acting group managing director explained.

"The tours and seminars help to increase the students' awareness about the issues and challenges affecting Jamaica's energy sector; and then the competitions give them the opportunity to propose solutions," he added.

Launched in 2003, the Schools' Energy Programme originally targeted students from inner-city institutions in the Corporate Area. However, in 2011 the programme was expanded to include schools from across the country. For the 2012-2013 academic year students from 50 participating schools won cash prizes valued at close to $1.4 million in the essay, poster and science competitions.

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