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PRESS RELEASE: T.A.P. LAUNCH


Jamaican Early Childhood Educators Receive Financial Boost

Kingston, Jamaica, April 23, 2008 - Jamaica Impact, Inc. (JAMPACT), the New York based NGO, launched its Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) on Tuesday, April 22, 2008, at Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. The program will assist in financing JAMPACT's adopted basic schools' teachers and administrators in their pursuit of higher education and professional development in the field of education.

JAMPACT President, Kamar Samuels, stated in his welcome speech that, "the goal is for our basic schools to become model early childhood institutions in Jamaica. However, we recognize that we can never get model schools if we don't have model teachers. This program is the first step in our effort to enhance the quality of education being delivered in these schools."

JAMPACT will reimburse up to US$500 (J$35,000) to each eligible candidate of the Tuition Assistance Program who would have given at least two years full time service or three years part-time service in one of the organization's adopted basic schools (Coles, Crescent Road, Maxfield Park and St. Steven's). Awardees will be asked to submit official grades of "C" and above along with coursework receipts for reimbursement.

An enthused, Merris Murray, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Commission, commended the group on its efforts to encourage basic school teachers to seek out professional development opportunities as statistics show that only 350 of the 5,000 basic school teachers listed are currently fully trained teachers.

Dr. Rebecca Tortello, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Education, emphasized the importance of providing teachers with increased access to professional development and training as it has been well documented that children who receive early childhood education go on to do well academically.

Stefan Wright, a founding member of JAMPACT spoke of the commitment over the years of JAMPACT members to education in Jamaica and the relationship developed with the organization's adopted basic schools.

JAMPACT's TAP is slated to benefit at least twelve teachers in the organization's adopted basic schools. The teachers witnessing the launch were delighted at the announcement of the program. "We are excited about this opportunity and rest assured we will be taking full advantage of the offer," said Claudia Fyffe, Principal of St. Steven's Basic School.

"The enthusiasm with which this initiative has been received only serves to motivate us to do more," said Samuels who hopes to be able to increase the program's benefits in the near future.

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