As 17 Vincentians take up university scholarships in Taiwan, the ally’s ambassador to Kingstown has noted that two Vincentians lost their scholarships last year because of underperformance.
The two students join another who failed in 2016 and had his scholarship revoked.
iWitness News understands that the latest students didn’t pass their university exams nor did they acquire the required number of credits for consecutive semesters and were therefore failed by their universities.
Therefore, their scholarships, offered by the government of Taiwan, were terminated as they are not registered at any of the nation’s universities.
“As I have done in many occasions, I would like to remind you that while you enjoy your stay in Taiwan, do make sure that you study hard for your degree. This year, two more Vincentian students failed from their scholarship programme,” Ambassador Bau Shuan Ger said at the scholarship presentation ceremony on Monday.
The air ticket we issue to you is not a guarantee for your degree. Over the years, Vincentian students have maintained an excellent reputation on academic performances. I sincerely hope that all of you will come back with your degrees,” he said.
Ger said that 19 Vincentians were awarded scholarships offered by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the nation’s International Corporation and Development Fund, Taiwan ICDF.
The number of scholarships awarded in 2017 was two more than in 2016.
“However, because of some personal reasons, two recipients are not taking the offer in the end. Therefore, we are going to send 17 students to Taiwan,” Ger said.
“On behalf of the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to each and every one of the recipients of the two scholarships,” the envoy told the scholarship recipients.
This year, the students will pursue studies in disciplines including computer science, mechanical engineering, international finance, agricultural economics, pharmacy, international tourism and hospitality, nursing, and medicine.
“I am especially happy to know all the 13 recipients of MOFA scholarships will take advantage of the one-year Mandarin Chinese programme provided for them for their first year in Taiwan,” he said.
He noted that from this year, students enrolled under the scholarship programmes can now apply for a work permit in Taiwan.
“The new scheme aims to encourage eligible foreign students to gain more hands-on experience and sharpen their Mandarin language skills. I hope many of you will utilise this new scheme. That is, when you come back to SVG, you will bring back with you not only a degree, but also working experiences and beautiful Mandarin you speak,” he said.
Ger said that among the various areas of bilateral cooperation between Taiwan and SVG, Taipei always considers education and training opportunities for young people a top priority.
He said that while his government has limited capacity to sponsor more young Vincentians to go to Taiwan, they are committed to help through working with the Government of SVG.
He said that in addition to the scholarships, Taipei has pledged to provide a further EC$1.34 million for youth development projects.
“We have long sponsored the YES (Youth Empowerment Service) programme. We do hope the funding will further enhance the YES programme by increasing the recipients to the programme or to other similar projects,” he said.
The Taiwan Scholarships began in 2004, at the initiative of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.
Since then, 126 Vincentians have enrolled in degree programmes in Taiwan through the two types of scholarships.
“The reason for my country to launch programmes as such for the youth of our diplomatic allies is that we believe that for countries with limited natural resources, like Taiwan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, quality education plays a key role in national development. We must nurture the young talents to be well-equipped with crucial skills and knowledge for their countries’ future.
“As we recognize the importance of quality tertiary education, my government has decided to increase the budget on Taiwan scholarships. That is to say, we expect to see more Vincentian students go to Taiwan to study in universities in the years to come,” Ger said.