Thousands of Jamaicans continue to benefit from opportunities for international studies and professional training, under scholarship programmes being administered by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
The programmes, which are offered by Jamaica’s bilateral and multilateral partners, are aimed at equipping the country’s workforce.
Minister of State with responsibility for the Public Service, Rudyard Spencer, says there are approximately 20 active scholarship programmes that are administered by the ministry.
He informed that successful applicants undergoing training valued in excess of $300,000 are usually bonded for two to five years.
Depending on the type of award, they may return to their jobs, take up employment in the public sector, or serve anywhere in the country. Approximately 1,000 persons signed bonding agreements in the last financial year.
The state minister was making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives last week.
He informed that 62 persons are studying in Cuba in disciplines such as medicine, engineering, psychology, Spanish, imaging and radiology, and dentistry. Eight new awards will be taken up in 2016/2017.
In China, scholarships are offered for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in rural and urban planning, electrical power system automation, environment science, communication studies, architecture, engineering, business, tourism, medicine, economics, and trade. There are also short-term specialist areas in renewable energy and other disciplines.
Meanwhile, 41 students are now in Russia and seven graduates are expected this year in the fields of dentistry, hydrology, arts and education and engineering.
For Japan, offerings are available in mathematics and science teaching, health and education at the master’s level in short programmes. Eight awards were taken up in 2015/16 and for 2016/2017, Japan will also offer up to 13 scholarships in the areas of agriculture, marketing, power grid distribution and waste and compost management.
Spencer further cited undergraduate and post-graduate scholarships offered by the Organization of American States (OAS) in education, finance, management, environmental studies and information technology, among other areas. They provide opportunity for study in countries such as the United States (US), Canada, and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Jamaicans are also benefiting from scholarships offered by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation in public-sector reform, change management, leadership development, public/private partnerships, and governance.
Australia offers studies in climate change, natural resource management, and other subjects, while the United Kingdom (UK) provides masters and doctorate programmes in a variety of disciplines in keeping with national priorities.
Fourteen persons are studying in the UK and two in New Zealand. Another five awards were granted this year for studies in construction management, transport studies, crime science, investigation and intelligence, forensic psychology and international law.
Other partners offering scholarships for Jamaicans are Serbia, Turkey, India, Egypt, Austria, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia, Spain, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Malta and Brazil. Approximately 25 Jamaicans are currently studying in these countries.