It is a recurring theme every year. Students proudly don the green cap and gown of the Montserrat Secondary School. Take the walk to the cheers of fellow students, friends and family. Maybe win a trophy or two for their hard work. Fill up their social media with party pictures and sleep in late the following morning.
57 students took that walk in June.
But what next?
In discussions with parents about plans for their children following graduation, the options seem limited to attending Sixth Form or hoping they find employment in a very challenging economy. For those with the means, they may send their child to the UK or US who can then pursue whatever career path they choose. This path may or may not be a priority need for the island and hence no urgency for them to return to work and build Montserrat.
Parents are hoping for the best but are without the mechanisms to plan a future which could involve higher education and the eventual long-term participation of their children in their country of birth.
The Cabinet annually publishes a list of priority study areas for Montserrat. However, this list doesn’t seem to make it beyond civil servants. Why is this?
Are only civil servants eligible to apply for and receive scholarships?
Since all 57 won’t get government jobs, how will they get access to the same information and option to get a degree?
Why are there no published ads or announcements well in advance to get students and their parents focused on the available options?
Yes, in the past this process was abused and ensured only friends of friends benefited but that does not stop the need to annually create the space for our children to be educated. How do you plan for a future that does not included continued education of our students beyond the community college?
We do have the UWI Open Campus but again, how do students access funding if they are not employed by government?
There is no mandate to ensure the top students at MSS are assured of a scholarship to continue on. With the right mechanisms and opportunities students will go abroad and return to fulfill their obligations.
Let’s stop making it so difficult for information to be shared and people to get the support they need.
In case you are interested, here is the official list of priority areas for the government. We recommend contacting your ministers, the Human Resources Management Unit, the Ministry of Education to find out how your child, who doesn’t have a government job can apply to receive a scholarship.
1 BSc Biomedical Engineering
2 BA in English/English Literature with Teacher Training
3 BSc Diagnostic Imaging (Radiography)
4 BSc in Land Surveying
5 BSc Mathematics with Teacher Training
6 BSc Food, Science & Technology
7 MBBS, Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery
8 BSc Geography with Teacher Training
9 BSc Marine Navigation Technology
10 Legal Education Certificate
11 BSc or MSc in Physiotherapy
12 BSc Education Curriculum
13 BSc Industrial Arts majoring in Electricity or Electronics with Teacher training
14 BSc Medical Technology
15 BSc Education Policy & Planning
16 BSc Psychology Major in Clinical Psychology
17 BA or MA Special Education Needs
18 BSc Nursing Anesthetist
19 Diploma in Education/ASc Teacher Education
20 Oncology Nursing
21 BSc in Forestry Management
22 BSc Computer Science/Software Engineering
23 BSc. Sports Management
24 BSc or MA International Trade &Economic Law or Economics and Management (major in Trade Policy)
25 Diploma Dental Assistant
26 Diploma Veterinary Lab Technician
27 BSc Environmental and Natural Resource Management
28 Diploma/BSc Construction Management
29 BSc Adult Nursing
30 BSc Family Nurse Practitioner
31 BSc Social Work
32 BSc Public Health Nursing
33 BSc Environmental Health
34 BSc Pharmacy
35 BSc Dietetics/Nutrition
36 BHS(Hons) Health Informatics or Health Information Management
37 Diploma or BSc. Vehicle Systems Overhaul Repairs and Maintenance
38 BSc or Masters- Economics or Finance or Financial Management
39 BSc Economic and Statistics/Social Statistics
40 BSc Library & Archiving Studies
41 Dialysis Nursing
42 MA Applied Development Studies
43 BSc Housing Studies