Four inmates get scholarships to pursue associate degrees

Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Rudyard Spencer (standing, left), and Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC), Professor Bernadette Warner (standing, right), observe as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dianne McIntosh (seated right), and Commissioner of Corrections, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Gary Rowe (centre), affix their signatures to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will facilitate four inmates and one correctional officer pursuing associate degrees online with the UCC.  

Four inmates and one correctional officer have been selected as the first recipients to benefit from full scholarships valued at $300,000 each per year to pursue associate degrees with the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC).

The new students will pursue the Associate of Science Degree in Business Administration online at the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre, as a pilot project beginning in the spring semester 2020. It will last for up to two years.

“We are increasing the marketability of inmates and officers by providing sustainable scholarships and grants.”

— Spencer

The initiative, which aims at boosting the educational capabilities of the participants, is being facilitated through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) among the Ministry of National Security through the Department of Correctional Services; Stand Up For Jamaica, a non-governmental organisation; and the UCC.

Signing ceremony

Speaking at the signing ceremony at the UCC on Monday (January 6), Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Rudyard Spencer, said the programme seeks to enhance the rehabilitation process and facilitate the successful development of inmates and Correctional Officers.

Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Rudyard Spencer (left), greets President and Executive Chancellor, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC), Professor Dennis Gayle. At centre is Commissioner of Corrections, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Gary Rowe.

“This is noteworthy, and it shows that we are willing to pool our resources for the advancement of our most vulnerable,” he said.

Spencer congratulated the individuals who have been chosen to participate in the programme, pointing out that this “life-changing opportunity” will not only benefit them and their families but also represents a sensible investment for the society.

“Today’s signing shows that we understand the limitations and hear the cries of the offenders, who face difficulties qualifying for employment opportunities because of educational limitations. Therefore, we are increasing the marketability of inmates and officers by providing sustainable scholarships and grants through worthwhile partnerships,” Spencer said.