Record Scholarships; System to be Examined
A record number of 126 students have received government scholarships in order to begin overseas tertiary education this year, according to data from the Ministry for Education, Training and Employment.
Another 99 new students have received funding to attend local courses at UCCI, and a further 62 are pending acceptance by UCCI. Meanwhile, approvals for students who plan to attend other local institutions are being finalised.
In all, government estimates to spend around $9.5 million in overseas and local scholarship funding this year.
"We are fully committed to investing into our young people's potential," Minister Anglin said, noting that the number of approvals this year represents an increase of more than 50 per cent over last year's figures. "Well-educated Caymanians, who can hold their own and compete on both global and local levels, are the key resource that will ensure the future well being and advancement of our country."
In addition to the 126 new overseas scholarship recipients, another 200 students are continuing their tertiary education, for a total of 326 students on overseas scholarships for the 2009/2010 academic year.
The estimated 161 new scholarship recipients at UCCI will join 311 fellow students who are receiving government funding, for a total of 472 local scholarship recipients.
The breakdown of the $9.5 million is about $2.5 million in new overseas scholarships; around $4 million for students continuing their overseas studies; and $2.9 million for all local scholarship funding requests.
Minister Anglin also said that, given the importance of the scholarship programme, the administrative and approval processes for government scholarships will be reviewed. The goal is to have an improved system up and working for next year's scholarship applications.
He noted that there are urgent areas in the approval process that need improving.
"It's evident that the criteria and processes for scholarship approvals need to be refined and more clearly communicated. There are a lot of unwritten policies surrounding the process, which leads to confusion and inequities."
This is partly caused by the fact that the Scholarship Unit is understaffed; only one person manages the entire process. "This delays and limits the services that can be provided," Minister Anglin pointed out.
Adding career counselling, and ongoing support for applicants and recipients, is under consideration as well. "And most important of all," he said, "the scholarship programme must be integrated into an overall human capital development strategy."
To provide input into these matters, the Ministry is establishing a Scholarship Services Review Committee. Its members will be required to report to the Education Council by mid-December 2009, in order to ensure implementation and communications to applicants in advance of the 2010 round of scholarship awards.
Minister Anglin said the committee's chair will be Mrs. Joy Basdeo, a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education.
Terms of Reference
Terms of reference for the Scholarship Services Review Committee include recommendations for the following.
- Revisions to the criteria for awarding overseas and local scholarships.
- A remit and organisational structure for a new Scholarship Secretariat Service, in order to address gaps in services for scholarship recipients and ensure that the scholarship programme contributes to human capital development.
- Effective business process and procedures, in order to ensure that the application and approval processes are effective, efficient and timely.
- Ways to prioritise scholarship funding and awards, in order to align the grants with Cayman's economic and societal needs.
- How greater collaboration with relevant agencies and other scholarship-awarding bodies can be achieved.
- A mechanism to identify recommended or preferred institutions for various tertiary programmes.
Checking on your scholarship application?
Students who have not been contacted regarding their overseas scholarship applications, or who made late applications, are asked to call Head of the Investors in People Programme Philip Scott on 244-2416.
Enquiries about local scholarship applications should be directed to the registrar at the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI). Applicants can also check for advisories on the UCCI website and the UCCI Student Information System.
For further information contact: Kenisha Morgan