Applications for Vincentian students hoping to receive one of the 55 scholarships being offered by the University of Wales Trinity St David, should begin soon, considering that in-person studies are expected to begin in October.
On Sunday, June 20, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves announced that the University had made the offer, and he spoke about it in more detail on radio on Wednesday, June 23.
Further, the correspondence between the Vice Chancellor of the University, Medwin Hughes, to the Prime Minister, has been released.
In the letter, received Friday, June 18, Hughes penned: “I very much valued the opportunity of speaking with you (Prime Minister Gonsalves) a few weeks ago to share initial thoughts with regard to supporting students from St Vincent and the Grenadines to undertake study here in Wales.”
The Vice Chancellor then went on to say that he has been in discussion with the British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, and kept His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, informed of the discussions.
“The University has been mindful of the key priorities which have been set by your Government in the National Economic and Social Development Plan and has highlighted possible key areas of interest,” he said.
It is in support of the objectives of this Plan that the University is offering 40 academic scholarships for full time study in Wales, and making available 15 scholarships for online delivery. The program is valued at one million pounds.
In his letter, the Vice Chancellor indicated that their intention is for the programme to begin the next academic year, and for the students to be invited to the University, subject to Covid-19 restrictions, in October.
Hughes signed off the communication by noting, “I hope you will agree with me that this is an exciting opportunity to establish strategic dialogue between St Vincent and the Grenadines and Wales.”
The Prime Minister, speaking to the radio host on NBC’s “Morning Cup” program on Wednesday explained, “Yesterday(Tuesday) I sent off a letter, a response to the Vice Chancellor, and I had already had the communication go to the Cabinet Secretary and also to the Chief Personnel Officer, and we are poised to do work.”
And that, “…the Chief Personnel Officer and the Cabinet Secretary would interface with the Vice Chancellor’s Office at the University of Wales.”
He said students are already calling the Office of the Prime Minister to find out about the programme, because “…they’re very excited, as I am, about this.”
The Prime Minister further indicated that the National Economic and Social Development plan for the 2013-2025 period, has three important goals, namely: re-engineering, economic and sustainable growth; establishing increased harmony and social development; and building resilience to climate change.
“…So that the scholarships are in subject areas connected to these strategic goals,” Gonsalves noted.
“…So you have for instance, undergraduate scholarships, or training would be offered in a Bachelor’s degree in business and management…”
“…We will have University certificates of higher education in a particular discipline, two year diplomas and online programs at the Masters level, postgraduate certificates, diplomas, masters – in a number of areas, in business management, sustainable leadership, sustainable development in all the dimensions, and international hotel management…”
The details will be presented through the Office of the Chief Personnel Officer, he added, “and the actual allocation of numbers of scholarships for each particular area – they’ll be worked out.”
The host indicated that a number of persons were wondering how soon they should apply, and the Prime Minister responded “pretty soon”, reiterating that the correspondence in response to the Vice Chancellor had been sent out on Tuesday, and communications will continue.
“…Time is of the essence because I want to get everybody there to October,” he added.
Gonsalves also said that advertisements will be out, and everything will be done in a transparent way.
He further commented that, “This is a very good effort. When I was pushing this there was some colleagues – and when I say colleagues, not just political but…people in the administration – they say you spending some time on this, you think this thing going bear fruit? But it has borne fruit. You just have to have faith and just do what you’re doing eh. and there are the entities with which we interface at all various levels, we have to do it, including with the Royal family, and in this case with Prince Charles.”
“…You know Prince Charles has a long history of matters dealing with sustainable development, strong issues of climate change, and the importance of biodiversity strongly supported by the three big conventions which came out of Rio 1992,” he commented.
“…And these scholarships are lodged within that broad kind of a framework, and his own sets of interest, but very much or more importantly, with our- the three of those critical goals in our national economic and social development plan, 2013 to 2025.”