The Taiwan Embassy in Kingstown is distributing EC$268,820 in education bursaries to hundreds of students from primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions.

The figure represents twice the amount distributed last year and 793 students will benefit, compared to last year’s 416.

Taiwan ambassador to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Bau Shuan Ger noted that the Taiwan Back to School Bursary programme was launched in 1998 to assist the financially underprivileged students in SVG with their education.

Since then, the Government of Taiwan has contributed US$100,000 (EC$268,820) every year to the programme.

From 1998 to 2016, a total of US$1.9 million, or around EC$5.1 million was allocated to sponsor this programme and thousands of students have benefited from it.

“This year my government has decided to double the funding from US$100,000 USD to US$200,000. In this way, we may provide help for more students and their families,” Ger told a ceremony in Kingstown where the first batch of students received their scholarships.

Ambassador Ger speaking at the ceremony.

He said that since SVG and Taiwan established diplomatic ties in 1981, they have launched and implemented many cooperation projects in different areas.

“However, as both Taiwan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines recognise that education will not only change the lives of many individuals but the future of a country, our two governments have worked together to put more and more resources over the years in the field of education,” Ger said.

He further noted that since 2002, Taiwan has been a sponsor of the Youth Empowerment Service (YES) programme.

Every year, EC$2.8 million is earmarked to assist about 500 young people to work in the public or private sectors under this programme.

This year, an extra EC$1.34 million will be put into the fund to enrol 167 more young people in the 2017-2018 Support for Education and Training (SET) and YES programmes.

“In Taiwan, we like to say ‘It takes ten years to grow a tree but one hundred years to nurture people.’ It says how important education is. That is the very reason we have created or sponsored a wide range of programmes to assist the young talents- leaders of tomorrow. We do hope that all the recipients will make best use of the money and study hard,” Ger said.