Gov’t providing 150 postgraduate scholarships for civil servants

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THE Jamaican Government will, over the next five years, be providing 150 postgraduate scholarships for civil servants.

The scholarships, valued more than $1 billion, is part of the human capital development thrust within the public service.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke says the provisions under the Marcus Garvey Public Sector Scholarship Programme, which he announced during the 2020/21 budget debate in March, will be awarded to 30 recipients annually to pursue master’s degree programmes aligned with Jamaica’s national priorities and strategic objectives.

The scholarships will be tenable at local and overseas universities at the start of the 2021/22 academic year, in September 2021.

The participating institutions already confirmed are The University of the West Indies (UWI) and University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica, as well as the United States-based Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University; King’s College, and Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Dr Clarke, who was speaking during the scholarship’s virtual launch from the finance ministry in Kingston on Wednesday, said the provision over the next five years represents the first instalment of the Government’s commitment to the undertaking.

The minister said the ongoing process of Jamaica’s development will require a civil service equipped with highest levels of skills and competence in order to enable the country to realise its full potential.

He noted that among the areas for which the need for specialised expertise has been identified are health and education policy, economic planning, and forensic science.

“Our [focus is]… a vision of a Jamaica that achieves its potential… is developed [and] in which all Jamaicans, regardless of station of birth, have an opportunity for a productive life and to be able to make the best of their talents and their motivations,” he said.

The minister said that among the philosophies taught by National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey, after whom the scholarship is named, was taking steps to “accomplish what we will”, describing it as a “a command and statement of truth”.

“Marcus Garvey understood, very well, the role that self-improvement plays in development… [and] the need for the development of expertise in order to create the kind of State that can accomplish the collective goals and dreams that we all share. Hence, we saw it fit to name what is an audacious attempt at human capital development after that great Jamaican — Marcus Garvey,” he argued.

Dr Clarke said the scholarship’s creation is indicative of the Government’s commitment to human capital development within the public service, adding that “we are not only speaking about it… but we are putting our words into action”.

The minister said the programme is designed to attract, retain and motivate the best qualified people for the public sector.

Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) President O’Neil Grant, who also spoke at the launch, welcomed the initiative, noting that it is consistent with the organisation’s mission statement that speaks to “a highly trained workforce of competent persons, through which we hope and intend to develop our country”.

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