Applications are now open for the UK Commonwealth Scholarships.
The award will be made to four people from the Commonwealth of Nations, which includes Jamaica, to pursue advanced studies in the UK. The deadline for applications is October 18, at noon.
Director of Workforce and Planning, Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Donovan Leon, told JIS News that the scholarship aims to build capacity in the Commonwealth.
“The UK Commonwealth Scholarship is one of those long-standing benefits from our international partners. It’s providing postgraduate study opportunities for Jamaican citizens, and the Caribbean at large. It is aimed at building capacity and knowledge in specific thematic areas across the Caribbean, for the advancement of those economies, by increasing the institutional knowledge and capacity at the country level,” he said.
The thematic areas of study include governance, health, education, agriculture, and climate change.
Leon explained that Jamaica is allotted four spaces to nominate candidates for the scholarship.
“We go through our vetting and selection process here. Once you have completed that, then we make four nominations. The UK-Commonwealth Secretariat then selects from that, along with [the nominations from] other Commonwealth territories, who will be the [overall four] desired candidates for this scholarship,” he said.
To apply, individuals are required to visit the UK-Commonwealth website where detailed instructions are provided.
“We, as the nominating office, are coordinating with the UK Secretariat. So once the applications have been submitted to the website, we also get a copy on our side,” Leon indicated.
To be eligible for the scholarship, typically, individuals must have a highly competitive undergraduate degree that is at first class, or at least upper second class or the equivalent.
“Outside of that, you must have two references; and it’s also good to have some work experience. It’s not a requirement, but, in our estimation, we have seen a person who has work experience have an advantage. Community involvement helps as well,” Leon told JIS News.
“We screen the applicants against the eligibility criteria set by the UK Commonwealth Secretariat. Thereafter, you are invited to an interview, which is composed of seasoned veterans in their respective fields. From there, once you have completed that process, you provide the references to us and then we advise and confirm the nomination on behalf of Jamaica,” he said.
Leon told JIS News that the scholarship covers full tuition and any attendant costs, as well as airfare to and from the university of study.
He encouraged people to apply, as it is a great opportunity to not just represent Jamaica, but to benefit from postgraduate education.
“It’s a great opportunity to experience a different education system, different culture, different atmosphere, as well as an opportunity to represent your country. It looks good knowing that you have had the experience and opportunity to be a part of a global network,” Leon pointed out.
People can access further information on the UK Commonwealth Scholarships at www.mof.gov.jm/scholarships.