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Foundation offers scholarship for early childhood teachers

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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AS a part of its commitment to the improvement of early childhood education in Jamaica, the National Baking Company Foundation says it will be offering the Little Leaders Early Childhood Scholarship under its Little Leaders initiative.

Since its rebranding in 2016, the Little Leaders programme, which focuses on minimising the learning disparity of Jamaican children, has distributed just under 7,000 learning kits to registered early childhood institutions islandwide.

In addition to the distribution of kits, the foundations said a Teacher Development Programme was also implemented. This programme, it said in a release, utilises its mobile classroom called Training Wheels and other resource centres to provide training opportunities for teachers.

At these workshops, and through subsequent interaction with the teachers, the foundation said it learnt that many early childhood teachers face difficulties pursuing higher education and has decided to earmark $6 million for the administration of the scholarship.

“While it is important for our children to have proper learning tools, it is more important to have competent teachers equipped to teach our children in their formative years,” said Christine Scott-Brown, executive director of the National Baking Company Foundation.

The scholarship will be open to individuals who have been accepted to, or are currently enrolled at, accredited teacher training institutions. They should be pursuing an associate degree or bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Teachers who have participated in the foundation's Teacher Development Programme will be given preference, the release said.

In addition to pursuing a degree in early childhood education, the applicant must be a Jamaican citizen between the ages of 19 and 45, be employed to an early childhood institution or be a grade 1 or 2 teacher at a primary or preparatory school, the release continued.

Each scholarship includes tuition of up to $300,000, a monthly stipend of $18,000, and an annual book grant of $5,000. The scholarship opens on August 25, 2018, the release said.

Application forms will be available through the National Baking Company Foundation's Facebook page, which is accessible on the National Baking Company's website, it continued.

According to the foundation, the scholarship comes at a time when the Ministry of Education is pushing for a reform in early childhood education through the attainment of 12 standards of operation for early childhood institutions.

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