The Government has provided 47 full-tuition scholarships to needy students who started their Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degrees at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, this semester.
The awards are valued at $177.66 million per annum over the next five years.
Minister with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Karl Samuda, who made the announcement at a press conference in the UWI Council Room on Thursday (September 5), said that the support came out of recent discussions with university officials.
“This cohort will be funded for the full five years of the programme, providing they meet established criteria… . Applicants must be Jamaican nationals. Only applicants with matriculation qualifications in the 97 percentile will be considered,” he said.
He noted that beneficiaries are required to maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.8 in order to continue to receive the scholarship.
All beneficiaries will be bonded by the Government for five years after completing their studies.
Minister Samuda said that only students who demonstrate the greatest need will be selected and will include former beneficiaries of the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and persons from inner-city and poor rural communities.
Already, three students have been selected for full scholarships. They are Shamarie Collins, Quwayne Howell and Rashaun Stewart.
The three young men recently deferred their dreams of becoming medical doctors to pursue more affordable degree programmes.
Rashaun, who delivered the Vote of Thanks, said that the students are “very appreciative” of the support.
“Prior to this endowment, I had no real idea and no concrete plan in place to get into the Faculty of Medical Sciences. Medicine costs US$28,000 and, unfortunately, I was not able to get the subsidy as a result of some extenuating circumstances.
“I would have had to garner the full fee… and I was not able to source it prior to the commencement of this academic year. But thanks to this opportunity, I am now able to springboard the commencement of my dream of becoming a medical doctor,” he said.
The support from the Government adds to the financial assistance already being offered to UWI students pursuing medicine.
“We already sponsor 55 students in each cohort by paying 80 per cent of their fees,” Minister Samuda said.
-Jamaica Information Service
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