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Twenty Jamaicans have been awarded scholarships by the Mexican government to pursue degree programmes at universities in Mexico.
Mexican Ambassador, Benito Andion presented 12 of the 20 awardees with their admission letters yesterday (January 21), at the Mexican Embassy in Kingston.
Mr. Andion congratulated the awardees and expressed the hope that the programme would produce 20 new ambassadors in the next five years.
“I hope those who go to Mexico and study for their bachelor degrees may continue to study in Mexico. That can be arranged, so that when they come back to Jamaica they can spread what they have learnt and at the same time there will be 20 new ambassadors,” he said.
The scholarships have been awarded under the Jamaica/Mexico bilateral co-operation programme, and is part of Mexico’s South-South Co-operation Programme. Jamaica and St. Vincent are the only Caribbean countries currently involved in the programme, which is in its first year.
The Ambassador assured the parents who were present that the Mexican government would take all the necessary measures to protect the students while they are in Mexico.
“I want to express to the parents that all information will be available to them and the Mexican government will take all the necessary steps to take care of the students and make sure they are safe,” he said. He further informed that special consideration would be given to parents who sought visas to visit their children. Adele Brown, Acting Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, congratulated the awardees, and thanked Mexico for helping the government to exceed its target of providing access to tertiary education for up to 15 per cent of young Jamaicans.
“This has helped us to exceed our target of 15 per cent of our youngsters moving on to tertiary education. This scholarship programme is a testament of this increased access and collaboration,” Mrs. Brown said.
She explained that the Ministry had researched the accreditation of the courses. “We want to ensure that the courses are accredited, and we have also done quite a bit of work in providing loans for students,” she noted.
While in Mexico, the students will be pursuing degrees in various areas, including Medicine, Media and Communications, International Relations and Construction Engineering. The scholarships will cover all academic costs for the programmes, which will last from four to seven years.
Eleven of the students are leaving six months ahead of schedule to learn Spanish. They will depart the island next week. The remaining students, due to their knowledge of Spanish, will depart in late March.