By EDDIE OSIFELO
THE number of additional scholarships has exceeded the initial number of scholarships approved in the 2020 Opportunity list.
Initially, the National Scholarship Division (NSD) in the Ministry of Education and Human Resources approved 918 scholarships in 2019 for 2020.
However, it has come up with another list of 931 scholarships which brings the total number to 1,849 scholarships for this year.
Minister Commins Mewa told Parliament on Wednesday that the key reasons for additional scholarships are as follow:
- There was an increase in constituencies scholarships from 2 initially to 6 to cater for students who were self-sponsored in past 2-3 years
- These students were experiencing financial hardships and requested the government that their applications be re-considered so that they can complete their programmes and qualifications
- To cater for students who have four or less outstanding units, who formally requested the government for extension of their awards to complete their programmes or qualifications
- There were candidates who have high Grade Point Average between 3.7 and 4.0 that applied for 2020 scholarships but were not considered in initial selection process because they applied for field of studies that were not prioritised. Hence not included in the list of 2020 opportunity list, example law. Some of these students were re-considered and offered scholarships
Mewa said all the students were selected based on merit.
He said the analysis of provinces is not confirmed yet but preliminary analysis shows Malaita was awarded the highest scholarships, followed by Western province, Guadalcanal, Makira, Temotu, Choiseul, Isabel, Central Province, Renbel and Honiara.
He said students who were selected under the Opportunity list are based on the labour market demand in the country and pressure from citizens wanting to attain tertiary education.
Mewa said most of the students take up programmes in agriculture, business and commerce, education (teaching), fisheries and maritime, forestry and environment, health, infrastructure, land and planning, tourism and hospitality and vocational skills.
With 1,849 scholarships offered this year plus the total number of continuing students is 2,009, this brings the total number of scholarships for this year is 3,858.
Mewa said in his humble opinion, this is good investment for our human resources.
“Our country needs qualified and skills citizens who participate proactively in this socio economy development of our country,” he said.
From the scholarships offered this year, the qualifications are as follows, Doctorate- 6, Masters -61, Post graduate diplomas – 15, Undergraduate – 1261, Diplomas -320 and Certificates – 186.
The categories are as follows:
- The Pre-Service school based form 7, upgraded and others who are self-sponsored themselves is 640
- In Service public service is 100
- In Service private sector is 64
- In Service teachers is 77
- Skills development, RTC is 164
- Constituencies is 300
- Cost shares only 6
- Additionally 498