Seventeen Vincentians were on Thursday presented with scholarships to pursue tertiary-level studies in Taiwan, four more than received similar scholarships in 2014.
The recipients were selected from among 80 persons who applied.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony in Kingstown, Taiwan ambassador to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Baushuan Ger, pointed out that since 2004, the Government of Taiwan has provided two types of scholarships to Vincentians.
They are the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Scholarships and TaiwanICDF Scholarships.
The scholarships are intended to encourage talented young Vincentians to join youths from other countries to study for bachelor’s, master’s or even doctorates degrees in Taiwan.
“We are very pleased to be able to play a part on helping the young people from St. Vincent and the Grenadines to achieve their dream for a higher education degree,” Ger said.
He said the 17 recipients will go to Taiwan to pursue bachelor’s or master’s degrees in tourism management, different engineering programmes, medicine, public health, computer science, tropical agriculture, medical laboratory science, environmental science, and journalism.
“Over the past 10 years, the two scholarship programmes have benefitted more than 100 young Vincentians. We are especially happy to see that many scholarship recipients have returned back to this country to serve. In government, in schools, in hospitals and in the private sector, they are contributing to this country with what they have learned from Taiwan,” Ger said.
He noted that there are 163 universities in Taiwan with a total of 1.3 million enrolled students.
“We have seen a significant increase in the number of international students. In 2014-2015 academic year, 100,000 or so international students from 148 countries came to study in Taiwan. So the 17 Vincentians will soon become part of this very international student body,” Ger said.
He noted that like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan is an island not endowed with natural resources.
“We, therefore, over the years put heavy investment in human resources development through all levels of education. We have noted and admire the ‘Education Revolution’ initiative taken by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The success of the initiative will definitely in the long term make a strong impact on the national development,” Ger said.
He said the scholarship programmes being offered by Taiwan can be seen as a small complement to the Education Revolution, “assisting our ally, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in the area of human resources advancement, which is essential to promote economic competitiveness and sustainable growth.
“St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Republic of China (Taiwan) have enjoyed very cordial friendship and cooperation over 34 years. We have every strong desire to further deepen the relationships between our two countries, including in the field of education. We do expect to see more and more young Vincentians to study in Taiwan,” Ger said and congratulated the scholarship recipient, urging them to study hard and enjoy their life in Taiwan.
Thursday’s ceremony also heard addresses from Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Minister of Education, Girlyn Miguel.