The morning of Thursday August 2, 2018 was overcast, but it was a particularly bright day for several Sterling Products Ltd employees whose children got generous bursaries from the company to lessen their parents’ back-to-school expenses in the new school year.
At the brief presentation ceremony at the company’s headquarters, Human Resources Officer, Ms Yvette Fiedtkou underscored Sterling Products’ firm commitment to the bursary award programme. She noted that this year’s bursary—a one-off disbursement of $65,000— was for employees’ children who will be starting their secondary education in September.
The seven students who got bursary awards were: Angela Persaud; Alika Shaw; Tarun; Saktua, Akeelah Persaud; Emika Thomas; Samir Ishmael; Romel Persaud and Daniele Shaw.
Ms Fiedtkou explained that these seven students qualified for the bursary award by attaining at least 75 per cent of the total marks obtainable at the 2018 Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (SSEE).
For more than 25 years, Sterling Products Ltd has been contributing to the education of employees’ children through annual bursary awards.
At the presentation ceremony, Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Products Ltd, Ramsay Ali remarked that the children are embarking on a new chapter in their education, one that is vastly different from primary school.
“We are happy that we can afford to do this and assist you a little bit as you get into a new area of your life…” Ali said, emphasizing that the disbursements are strictly to offset the children’s education expenses and give them a smooth start as they enter secondary school.
Ali also encouraged the parents to let management know, from time to time, how the children are performing in school.
Assistant Chief Education Officer of the Ministry of Education, Ms Samantha Williams said her Ministry salutes valuable assistance of this nature and hopes other companies can contribute in similar ways to raising the standards of education and preparing students to succeed in academic life.
“Today is an opportunity that this corporate organization has seized to demonstrate its social responsibility by giving back to its workers and, by extension, the citizens of this country,” Ms Williams said.
She added that when parents, the school and community work together, the outcome can be satisfying to all.
However, she cautioned parents of the bursary recipients that their roles and responsibilities have not ended and, in fact, they will become even more difficult as their children move up to the next level on the ladder of education.
“We implore you to continue to give them the support that they need and to show that interest you have been showing in ensuring that your children are acquiring the skills that will help them to develop as good citizens of our country,” she said.
Ms Williams urged parents to continue cultivating the habit of learning in their respective homes and not to allow the television and other gadgets to usurp their roles in their children’s upbringing.
“Ensure that as a parent, you create a balance within your home and you are also monitoring the programmes they view on television and the games they play on the various gadgets,” she said.
She also gave the children words of advice and encouragement for their secondary school lives. She urged them to dream big, be determined, set goals, stay focused and not allow friends to veer them away from their objectives.
Being passionate about learning makes schoolwork easier and it is also important to balance work with wholesome extracurricular activities, she advised.
Speaking on behalf of the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU), which represents the company’s workers, Representative, Sherwood Clarke explained that trade unionism is not only about fighting for workers’ rights and good working conditions, but also for enhancing workers’ education.
He commended Ali and Sterling Products Ltd. for agreeing to increase the disbursement and also praised the company’s adult literacy programme in place for some employees.