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Public School Scholars Programme providing college opportunities for public school students
By Nikki Bethell
Nov 30, 2016 - 10:09:40 AM

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Eleven college representatives participated in the PSSP College Round Table held at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium

Nassau, Bahamas – Public school students are being encouraged to pursue college education like never before, thanks to the Public Schools Scholars Programme. Mrs. Monique Hinsey, the programme’s administrator is no stranger to colleges and universities both locally and internationally and is regarded as a scholarship guru. She is now leveraging her experience to empower scores of public schools students and their parents of the scholarship opportunities available to them.

The Bahamian public school system has no shortage of bright minds. Many of its students are academically astute and have the aptitude necessary to matriculate to college. One of the biggest obstacles for most of the students pursuing a tertiary education, whether locally or abroad is finances – many of them simply do not have the financial resources required to fund a college/university education.

Minister of Education, Science and Technology recognized a sad reality when he assumed office. He realized that less than seven percent of scholarships were being awarded to public school students. He also noticed that the number of public schools students applying for colleges was significantly lower than private/independent school students. Bothered by this fact, Minister Fitzgerald took action and with the expertise and experience Mrs. Monique Hinsey, a scholarship programme specifically for public school students was designed in an attempt to bring some degree of equity as the public school system makes of 75% of our student population.

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology college/university partners host a mini college fair for prospects of the Public School Scholars Programme at the National Stadium

The Education Minister truly believes that a student’s family’s financial posture should not prohibit a child who has the desire and ability to attend college to be deprived of such an enriching life experience. “I am deeply bothered when I hear of students who have applied and been accepted to colleges having to forfeit the opportunity simply because their families cannot afford it. I don’t think money should never prevent a child from furthering their education.”

Since 2014, Mrs. Monique Hinsey has been working assiduously to secure Memoranda of Understanding with various colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. In 2015, nineteen (19) public school scholars had the opportunity to pursue their dreams of college education and this year, that number tripled to fifty-seven (57). Next year, it is hoped that at least one hundred (100) public school students will receive scholarships.

Mr. Alex Schleper, Director of International Admission, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University discusses the support his university provides for international students.

A series of events were recently held to provide students and their parents with pertinent information regarding the scholarship application process and to ensure that they are well informed to take advantage of the scholarships available through the Public School Scholars Programme.

The first event was an Open House for the district superintendents of New Providence and gave an extensive overview of the Advanced Placement (AP) programme and the Public School Scholars Programme.

The second event was a parent’s information session, a forum for parents and guardians to learn more about AP and PSSP and the other initiatives of the Scholarship Resource Centre. Testimonials by parents whose children are benefitting from the programme were shared as well.

Public school students listen attentively at the College Roundtable

The third event was a PSSP Student Symposium. This was a hands-on workshop for the 2017 PSSP candidates. The purpose of the workshop was to assist this year's PSSP applicants with the tools needed to complete their college applications. They were also provided support and given guidelines to writing winning college essays. More than three hundred (300) students from the eight public senior high schools in New Providence attended the symposium. The guest speaker for the event was Artist Jeffrey Meris, a graduate of C.R. Walker Senior High who shared his humbling yet life-changing college experience.

The final event was the College Round Table. The primary focus of this event was:

·         to connect 2017 PSSP candidates and their parents with the MoEST’s college partners

·         to learn more about the colleges while getting a better understanding of the admissions process

·         to give students a better understanding what the colleges are looking for in ideal college applicant

·         to provide a detailed overview of the scholarships available and the present MoEST scholarship agreements with the various institutions.

Students of R.M. Bailey and C.R. Walker pictured at the PSSP Students Symposium moderated by Mrs. Clevette Gibson, AP Administrator for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

Approximately 300 parents and students attended the event. Ms. Angela Wilson who attended several of the meetings had this to say,” what an on time blessing for our Bahamian children. I have attended several of the meetings at Anatol Rodgers High School and to hear and see the excitement of the parents and students was awesome. Finally the government schools have opportunities they also deserve. Go team Hinsey! You guys are doing an awesome work. Continue to be a blessing to the children.”

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has established partnership agreements with the following colleges/universities:

1.    University of The Bahamas

2.    Middle Tennessee State University

3.    Central State University - Ohio

4.    College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University - Minnesota

5.    State University of New York – Oswego

6.    Holland College – Canada

7.    University of Prince Edward Island - Canada

8.    University of the Ozarks – Arkansas

9.    St. Leo University - Florida

10. Monroe College – New York

11. Texas Southern University

12. St. Mary’s University - Canada

13. King’s University College - Canada

14. Taylor University - Indiana

All public school students are encouraged to take advantage of the PSSP. For more information regarding the PSSP, contact your school’s guidance counsellor or the Scholarship Resource Centre of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology at 502-9025.

For more information on The Bahamas Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, visit www.ministryofeducationbahamas.com

About The Bahamas Ministry of Education, Science and Technology

The Bahamas’ Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) has responsibility for more than 50,000 K-12 students in approximately 170 educational institutions in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, which are dispersed over 14 districts in the major islands. Our goal is to increase the graduation rate from 50% to 80% by 2030. The MoEST aims to create an educational system that is technologically sound and competitive and that develops the strengths of each child, whether academic or otherwise, towards the maximum contribution that he/she is able to make to the national development of The Bahamas.

Mrs. Monique Hinsey addresses students and parents at the parents’ information session.

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