[Photo Credit: Northern Caribbean University]
Mandeville, Jamaica | Shannette Smith, IAD News Staff

Three students at Adventist-operated Northern Caribbean University (NCU) recently won paid internships at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Multi-Country Office in Jamaica.

Shertonio Byfield, Navaida Green and Petrona Peart were the recipients of this year’s internship after entering the Development Challenge Competition staged by the UNDP in collaboration with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, on July 10, 2020.

The NCU participants joined two other students from UWI and one student from the University of Technology (UTech) to form the winning team Reducing Inequalities in Education.

The competition was part of a five-day series of free webinars held during the Ready Reset Recharge UNDP Youth Symposium, held July 6-10. The symposium, which occurred live on Zoom and Facebook, elicited youth response in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean to the Special Human Development Report on COVID-19, with a goal of arriving at practical solutions for a post-COVID-19 era.

Team Reducing Inequalities in Education competed against two other hybrid teams and had only three minutes to impress the judges and their online youth audience. The judges’ scores made up 90 percent of the total marks gained while peoples’ choice votes accounted for 10 percent.

In her closing remarks to delegates and contestants, Denise Antonio, the UNDP Representative in Jamaica, said: “You have taken inspiration from the UNDP Special Report on COVID-19 and have charted your own path that is appropriate to your priorities and contexts…UNDP gives you our word that we will stand with you as you push for policy and behavioral change.”

Kavion Allen, president of the United Student Movement (USM) at NCU, was a member of the steering committee that organized the Ready Reset Recharge UNDP Youth Symposium. He commended the winning team in the Development Challenge, noting that “their presentation was so good and they used basic methods to show how we can utilize what we have to make education work.”

Allen also presented at and moderated for the UNDP Youth Symposium. He shared how NCU’s student government has been preparing students to triumph in the era of COVID through a strategic plan titled the ACE Model. Allen reported how NCU’s student government was serving the student population prior to and during COVID-19. He also shared some strategies going forward for the USM as the uncertainties of the pandemic continue.

“We were delighted to hear the good news about the students and their project on reducing inequalities in education,” said Lincoln Edwards, president of NCU. “From its very inception over 113 years ago, it has been one of the missions of NCU to provide quality Christian-centered education to persons who would normally be excluded by traditional systems.”

According to Edwards, when NCU started, only the elite could afford tertiary education. “The average person at that time could not afford such education but through its work-study program, [NCU] was able to administer students from lower-income sections.” Today, Edwards said, those students are doing very well in their profession. “The fact that current students recognized this at the school makes us proud,” he added.

To learn more about Northern Caribbean University, its programs and initiatives, visit ncu.edu.jm

This article was originally published on the Inter-America Division’s website

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