Although there have been many questions about the availability of Presidential scholarships for the nation’s top performers, concerns in this regard were on Friday put to rest. At its 2017 Awards Ceremony, the Ministry of Education
announced that four students will be recipients of Presidential Awards for their performance this year.
Of note is the fact that only students of Queen’s College were found to be eligible for scholarships. The awardees are Michael Bhopaul, Rawletta Barrow, Shannon Woodroffe and Ashley Anthony.
Bhopaul, the Most Outstanding national and regional performer at this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate [CSEC] examination, secured a total of 25 grade one passes. He secured his passes in Agriculture Science [DA], Biology, Caribbean History, Chemistry, Economics, English A, French, Geography, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Office Administration, Physics, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, Social Studies, Spanish, Electronic Documentation Preparation and Management, Human and Social Biology, Additional Mathematics, Food and Nutrition and Health, Family and Resource Management, Technical Drawing, Industrial Technology – Building and English B.
His schoolmate, Barrow, secured 19 grade one passes, and essentially took the second place. She secured grade one passes in Caribbean History, Economics, English A, English B, French, Geography, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Office Management, Principles of Business, Religious Education, Social Studies, Spanish, Theatre Arts, Electronic Documentation Preparation and Management, Human and Social Biology, Additional Mathematics, Food and Nutrition and Health, Family and Resource Management.
For the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination [CAPE], both Anthony and Woodroffe were named the best performers for 2017. Anthony’s performance included: Communication Studies Unit1-1, Integrated Mathematics Unit 1-1, Applied Mathematics Unit 2-1, Biology Unit 2-1, Chemistry Unit 2-1, Pure Mathematics Unit 2-1 and Physics Unit 2-1. The subjects for which Woodroffe performed exceptionally are: Communication Studies Unit 1-1, Integrated Mathematics Unit 1-1, Applied Mathematics Unit 2-1, Pure Mathematics Unit 2-1 and Physics Unit 2-1.
While there was hardly any doubt that Bhopaul and Barrow would have secured scholarships for their respective performances, once they were available, there were other students who were convinced that they would have been eligible for scholarships at the level of CAPE.
Named among the top CAPE performers this year are Vamanadev Hiralall of Saraswati Vidya Niketan and Shawn Shewram of St Rose’s High School. Both young men have already commenced studies at various institutions but were hopeful that the government would have recognised their performances too.
Hiralall wrote eights subjects and gained grade ones passes in all eight units. The subjects he wrote included: Caribbean Studies [Unit 1], Biology [Unit 2], Chemistry [Unit 2], Computer Science [Unit 2], Environmental Science [Unit 2], Information Technology [Unit 2], Pure Mathematics [Unit 2] and Physics [Unit 2].
The young man who hopes to secure a career in the medical field one day was accepted to study for the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery [MBBS] programme at the University of the West Indies.
Shewram also achieved eight ones at CAPE in the subject areas of Caribbean Studies [Unit 1], Economics [1 Unit], Economics [Unit 2], Entrepreneurship [Unit 1], Entrepreneurship [Unit 2], Accounting [unit 2], Law [Unit 2] and Management of Business [Unit 2]. He had expressed similar sentiments as Hirallal although he has commenced studies in law at the University of Guyana.
It was the PPP/C Government in 2012 that first announced that the two top performers of CSEC and CAPE would be eligible for scholarships to attend universities of their choice. The former Government had however reneged on its commitment to grant scholarships to the candidates chosen universities.
But Minister of State Joseph Harmon, had said that because of its emphasis on young people, the coalition APNU+AFC Government was committed to continuing the granting of scholarships to the top performers to universities of their choosing up to the end of 2015.
“Thereafter Cabinet has mandated the Minister of Education to examine the programme carefully and to come up with firm recommendations.”
Harmon had disclosed that Cabinet had given guidance to the Minister of Education that in looking at the condition for the award of scholarships that “the Minister and the Ministry consider scholarships for people in Guyana at UG.”
This, he had related, would translate to the expansion of the scholarship programme where it is no longer limited to the top performing students pursuing studies abroad but also to include “deserving students in Guyana who can pursue degrees at UG.”
At the time the Minister of Education was Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, a portfolio that is now being filled by Ms. Nicolette Henry.
Henry in an invited comment to this publication on the scholarship issue said “whatever people are due they will get. There is no plan to disadvantage anyone so once they are due they will get it. I don’t think they have anything to worry about; once they are eligible.”
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