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GOJ to Sponsor more Medical Students

GOJ to sponsor more medical students

From left: The UWI Mona Campus Registrar, Dr Donovan Stanberry; Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Dr Tomlin Paul; Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, The UWI Mona Campus, Professor Dale Webber; Minister without portfolio, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, the Hon. Karl Samuda; scholarship recipients: Rashaun Stewart, Shamarie Collins and Quwayne Howell; and Vice-Chancellor, The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles – pictured following the press conference held to announce the GOJ’s commitment of additional funding for medical students hosted in the Council Room at The UWI Mona Campus on Thursday September 5, 2019.

The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Mona has entered into a partnership with The Government of Jamaica that will increase access to its medical programme, and allow the institution to provide more students with a first-class medical education that will ultimately improve health care delivery to Jamaicans. This move is in keeping with The UWI’s Triple-A strategic goals of Access, Alignment and Agility.

The additional funding will cost the Government US$1.316 m or JMD$177.66m per annum.

The partnership will work to ease the difficulties being encountered by students seeking to access the Government-sponsored MBBS Programme offered at The UWI, Mona, as the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI) has committed to making more funds available for students.

Forty-seven (47) aspiring medical professionals will benefit from this commitment to fund additional MBBS students attending The UWI, Mona. (The MBBS Degree Programme is the medical undergraduate programme providing a broad education for the study of health and disease.)

GOJ to sponsor more medical students -1From Left: Scholarship recipients: Rashaun Stewart, Quwayne Howell and Shamarie Collins pictured at the press conference held to announce the GOJ’s commitment of additional funding for medical students hosted in the Council Room at The UWI Mona Campus on Thursday September 5, 2019. 

Speaking at the press conference, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Dr Tomlin Paul commented: “We have the oldest medical school in the region, we also have the best medical school. The UWI is not only a Caribbean medical school, but it is also a global school as our mission is to be a global university rooted in the Caribbean. The Faculty is committed to and continues to train top physicians to serve Jamaica, the Caribbean and to serve the world.”

He highlighted the fact that for top quality Medical schools across the world, students are paying between US$30,000 to USD$50,000 per annum. “The cost of the full fee programme at UWI is US$28,000, medical education is a costly venture,” he added

“We have more than 200 students with all Grade Ones at the CAPE level and straight ‘A’ profiles who have a challenge getting into the limited number of government-sponsored spaces. We have limitations in the context of access, given the growing demand for a high-quality programme. In that context, there is a need, and as such the move to expand the number of the government-sponsored programme is welcomed.”

In his addressing the press, the Hon. Karl Samuda, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Education stated that in his current position, “there is very little that could ever be done to prevent me from making it possible to facilitate as many youngsters wishing to do medicine, especially those from challenged communities where the opportunities for them are not always open.”

Of note, priority will be given to former PATH beneficiaries, as well as students from inner-city and poor rural communities across all the parishes.

“It is my objective and my commitment to bring about a greater sense of equity in the education system of Jamaica," the minister declared.

“We already sponsor 55 students in each cohort by paying 80% of their fees, we have now taken the decision to fund an additional 47 students who will start the UWI’s medical programme this year. The MOEYI has made provisions to underwrite the cost,” he added.

This 2019 cohort will be funded on the condition that they maintain a 2.80 GPA. Beneficiaries risk being placed on probation, in the first instance, should they fall short of the GPA requirements. Failure to improve their academic standing may lead to their removal from the Government-sponsored programme.

Students who qualify for the MBBS Programme under this scholarship must be nationals of Jamaica with matriculation qualifications in the 97th percentile, additionally, Jamaicans with a first degree that could be considered a prerequisite for entry into Medicine are also eligible. In addition to meeting the academic requirements, eligible candidates must demonstrate financial need.

On this note, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Mona Campus commended the ministry on moving quickly to provide access for needy students stating that “access is an important part of developing what we do here at the university and access to those who are needy is even more important. As we align what we do within the University with the government and the private sector, it meets our second area of alignment and I commend the minister and ministry on agility as discussions with the ministry turned into action in less than 10 days. “

Beneficiaries will be required to sign a bond agreement to be placed by the Government of Jamaica in health facilities across the country for a period of 5 years following graduation.

Noting that The UWI’s strategic planning cycle is motivated by the need for economic development and social transformation within the region, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who was also at the press event, thanked the Minister for his “vision to democratize access to higher education, to empower more families, to empower all communities and to create a culture of equity within the system, equity for every Jamaican citizen.”

The Full Press Conference can be accessed via this link: YOUTUBE

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