News

Colombian gov't scholarships galore

But Jamaicans not applying for them

BY HG HELPS Editor-at-Large helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, December 22, 2013    

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THE Colombian Government has been trying to entice Jamaicans to study in that country for several years, but there have been no takers, one of its senior diplomats has said.

"We offer 15 scholarships a year to Jamaicans to study in Colombia, but nobody applies," bemoaned Deputy Head of Mission at the Colombian Embassy in Kingston William Bush.

"Now we are promoting the fact that we have these scholarships," Bush told the Jamaica Observer.

The diplomat in an interview with the Sunday Observer last week, said that qualified Jamaicans would study at various locations across the country as part of a wider arrangement of cooperation between Jamaica and Colombia that has several other education components.

The scholarships are offered for first degree studies in medicine, engineering and social science. Successful applicants are enrolled in January and August of each year.

Colombia, a South American country with 45 million inhabitants, joins others in offering mainly academic scholarships, and sports and the arts too, to qualified Jamaican students.

The United States, Cuba, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, China, Venezuela, and Japan are among other countries which have extended the hand of generosity to Jamaica in that regard.

"Colombia's Agency for Higher Education has very good programmes," Bush said. "But it seems that people don't know about the scholarships," he said.

The offers for scholarships are made through Jamaica's ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade.

Another aspect of the education cooperation between both countries includes a swapping of talent in the subject areas of Spanish and English.

"Our Spanish teachers go to the UWI (University of the West Indies) to teach the subject, and Jamaican students who finish UWI go to Colombia to teach English. That programme has been going on for over 20 years," Bush said.

"We are working to make that even stronger. A lot of Jamaicans live in Colombia, many of them are teachers," Bush added.

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