The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines has awarded a record number of National Scholarships and other awards for the 2017/2018 academic year.
Forty-seven graduates of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College have received national scholarships, national exhibition awards, and bursaries, which will fund their university studies in a wide range of academic disciplines.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves spoke of the numbers during a press conference on Tuesday but did not name any of the recipients. He had announced them earlier that day on Star FM, the radio station owned by his Unity Labour Party.
He, however, noted that the media has a tendency to want to know the recipients so as to interview them and feature their success.
A press release from the Office of the Prime Minister also did not give the names of any of the recipients.
The press statement said the selection process was guided by “the application of an objective point system, which has been developed to address equivalency issues in an institution, which has grown exponentially over the last few years and delivers an array of subject offerings and specialisations”.
The graduate of all programmes offered under the various divisions of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College were considered — the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) and associate degree programmes developed or franchised by the institution.
A total of 32 scholarships and bursaries were awarded to graduates of the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies based on their performance in the 2018 CAPE examinations.
Of this number, 17 are national scholarships, which are tenable for five years. Seven are three-year exhibition awards, while eight are bursaries.
In addition, 15 awards have been granted to graduates of associate degree programmes.
These include two exhibition scholarships, awarded to one graduate each of the Division of Teacher Education and the Division of Technical and Vocational Education, and 12 bursaries to top performers in associate degrees programmes under all four divisions of the Community College, each of whom attained a grade point average (GPAs) with an appropriate equivalence to the CAPE qualifying standards.
One graduate of the Division of Teacher Education has also been awarded a three-year special award in the field of education for his commendable performance in the Associate Degree in Teaching — Primary Education.
He could not be considered for an exhibition award since an age limit of 21 years has been established for National and Exhibition Awards, the press release said, adding that there is no fixed age limit for special awards or bursaries.
Awards under the National Scholarship Programme are tenable at the University of the West Indies.
Exceptions are considered only for those programmes deemed to be national training priorities but which are not available at the regional institution.
National scholarships, exhibition and special awards cover study-related costs, based on the estimates provided by the approved university.
These include tuition fees, economic cost (applicable only to the University of the West Indies), books and incidentals, airfare at the commencement and conclusion of studies, and a monthly stipend for living expenses, which comfortably covers board and lodging, and ground transportation.
Each bursary carries an annual value of ED$20,000, over a maximum period of three years, totalling EC$60,000. Additionally, the economic cost is also paid on behalf of bursary recipients who pursue studies at the University of the West Indies.
“This is the largest number of awards ever provided by any government on the basis of the results from the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College. It is a reflection of the administration’s continued, tangible articulation of its policies on education, poverty alleviation and youth development, among others. It is also an acknowledgement of the impressive results achieved by this year’s graduates of the Community College who are aptly and deservedly recognised and rewarded for their first-rate performances, discipline and dedication,” the press release said.
“Moreover, it is quite fitting that the achievements of our youth are being celebrated at a time when this nation is observing its 39th Anniversary of Independence.”