Ministry of Education, Guyana

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 12:59

Over 300 scholarship graduates to return from Cuba

Over 300 scholarship graduates to return over next few days – first batch of 99 brings agronomists and engineers.

The first of three batches of graduates, numbering 99 who pursued a first degree in agronomy, engineering and a few in medicine in Cuba, under the Government of Guyana (GoG) and Cuba Scholarship Programme, returned home today, to the cheers and tears of their friends and families. Over the next few days a total of 300 plus young Guyanese are to return to serve their country.

cuban-students3A total of 102 graduates will arrive tomorrow, and the following day, 100, all of them trained in medicine.
Minister of Public Service Dr. Jennifer Westford was on hand to welcome the graduates. Speaking with the media after the graduates had disembarked; Minister Westford posited that, “We are going to be having 300 plus new professionals coming into Guyana, and obviously this means we have new skills to aid development,” she explained. She further stated that with the return of those trained in medicine, “we can now offer here a better quality care.”

The Minister said the returning batch of agronomists will help to cement Guyana’s position as the “bread basket of the Caribbean.” She said, “As we know Guyana happens to be the Caricom leader in agriculture, so we are going to be able to hold that portfolio and ensure that we make the food basket of the Caribbean very soon.”

cuban-students2

Young engineers and Amaila

The returning young engineers, she expressed hope will assist the infrastructure development which has been steadily progressing in Guyana and singled out the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project (AFHP) as one such project that will garner the interest of the returning engineers. ”The Government has a large infrastructure agenda; we have the Amaila Falls on stream. I am hoping that quite a few of the new engineers that just came in will be enthusiastic enough to be going on the project also,” she said.
“I can see within the future this set of graduates who just arrived and those who will be arriving tomorrow (July 31) and the day after tomorrow will be building blocks on which our development will be hinged.”

Former Presidents of Guyana and Cuba, Bharrat Jagdeo and Fidel Castro respectively, seven years ago, agreed that Guyana will send 500 students to be trained in Cuba under a Special Cuban Scholarship Programme in the disciplines of Medicine, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Culture, Sport, Agriculture, and Architecture among others. At that time Guyana was experiencing a shortage of doctors.
Throughout the years, Guyana has been sending students, the first batch totalling 300 and continuing with smaller numbers over the years.

cuban-students4According to the Minister, these special agreements with Cuba came to an end two years ago. She explained however, that the Ministry will continue to send small batches of students under its scholarship programme for training in the Spanish speaking island. She advised that under the Ministry’s programme such a batch departed a few days ago.
She said too, the batches returning over the next three days will benefit from post- graduate training. “We just do not want to stop at this level, we want to have the highest level of professionals in the system so that our people will be able to benefit and our country will have a high level of professionals and we would not have to depend on persons coming from overseas,” she explained. “We will have our own home-grown professionals,” she added.

She indicated also that Government has no future plan to secure with Cuba special concession for training like the one brokered between Former Presidents Jagdeo and Castro as the Ministry’s scholarship programme to Cuba will be enough to maintain the medical personnel to persons ratio that is required in the country.
According to Minister Westford, based on the health facilities in the country, Guyana is at present saturated with medical personnel.

cuban-students5The Government of Guyana (GoG) and Cuba Scholarship Programme is not just about Government sending the students to Cuba. Government has also invested in passage for the students to travel to and from that country, and has provided a monthly stipend of US$100 to each student.
Government has also put in place, in Cuba, an office for the students to provide whatever support they can to the students.

Article and images compliments of GINA.

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