Government of Jamaica (GOJ) Launches The National STEM Tertiary Scholarships Programme

This September, UTech students will be eligible for the GOJ Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - STEM Tertiary Scholarships

New students enrolling at the University of Technology (UTech) Jamaica, commencing September 2023, will be eligible for the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – STEM tertiary Scholarships.

The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, in collaboration with the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB), will be offering full tuition need-based scholarships valued $2.4 billion to 1,000 students at the tertiary institution over the next five years.

This arrangement will be facilitated under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry, UTech Jamaica and SLB.

In his remarks during Thursday’s (July 6) launch at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, Finance Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, noted that UTech is one of the leading sources of the job-ready STEM workforce.

“UTech is ideally positioned to deliver on this mandate because it has a number of advantages, with one of them being a suite of innovation centres where on-the-job training can occur as a part of the learning experience,” he said.

The Minister explained that for tertiary education funding to be sustainable and the vision of an equitable Jamaica realised, “our financing has to give a leg-up to those who are in need”.

“Not everybody is in need and not everybody’s need is the same. We want a Jamaica where we pursue the goal of equality of opportunity,” Dr. Clarke added.

Acting Deputy President of UTech Jamaica, Professor Haldane Johnson, shared that the granting of the 1,000 scholarships resulted from the preparation of a Business Case Proposal for STEM/Computer Science Scholarships, which was submitted to the Finance Ministry earlier this year.

The University’s recruitment drive has, so far, identified more than 140 of the 200 undergraduate students being sought for the initial cohort. Professor Johnson explained that students must be between the ages of 17 and 25, meet the matriculation requirements, demonstrate financial need and meet the community service criteria.

“Under the STEM scholarship collaboration being signed today, undergraduate beneficiaries will have the opportunity to choose from 13 programmes offered by UTech Jamaica’s Faculty of Engineering and Computing.

This STEM scholarship programme is another win-win model for Jamaica’s development, demonstrating that when academia, government and industry come together for the investment in youth and education and training, the future can only look brighter for Jamaica,” Professor Johnson shared.

.Meanwhile, SLB Executive Director, Nickeisha Walsh, underscored that a robust STEM programme will play a significant role in preparing Jamaicans for jobs of the future.

“This programme is designed to improve human capacity development in STEM studies at the tertiary level by attracting, motivating and maintaining qualified and high-potential graduates, [and] strengthening tertiary training capacity to develop an adequate supply of STEM graduates for Jamaica with a total of 1,000 graduates over five cohorts,” she said.

The Executive Director added that a mechanism will be included to ensure that scholarship recipients commit to “adequate time working in Jamaica and contributing to national development”.

She further advised that SLB will provide additional benefits through its own STEM programme to students who apply for a loan.

“These beneficiaries can benefit from a reduced interest rate of six per cent, unsecured. This is our commitment to Jamaicans, as we believe that STEM capacities on a national scale will equip our people for a future which demands innovation, critical thinking, creativity, ingenuity and give our country a competitive edge,” she said.

Source: Gov’t Launches STEM Tertiary Scholarships as published on the Jamaica Information Service website on July 7, 2023 and WRITTEN BY: JUDANA MURPHY

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