LAQUESHA BAILEY (NYLO INTERN)
The results of the 2017 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) will be released on Saturday and with it, the anticipation of the yearly list of scholarship winners. As evidenced by the past two years, there is an imbalance in the areas of allocation.
Although there was a decrease in the number of scholarships awarded in the past two years, moving from 443 in 2015 to 389 in 2016, the areas of Science, Math and Technology still constitute more than 80% of awards given. Of the 443 scholarships awarded in 2015, 374 were under the bracket of Science, Math and Technology while Business scholarships numbered 42 and, even less than that, Humanities and Modern Studies at 27. Likewise, in 2016, 315 of the 389 scholarships distributed were under Science, Math and Technology while Business merited only 45 scholarships and students pursuing Humanities were given 29, two more than the previous year.
The Scholarships and Advanced Training Division (SATD) of the Ministry of Education awards the Advanced Level scholarships on the basis of students' grades and the National Development Human Resource Needs List. This List highlights jobs in various sectors and their degree of priority, with 1 meaning that there is a complete lack of professionals in that area and 3 signaling that the existing amount is adequate. The majority of careers under the heading of "Petroleum and Mining" and "Health" have a Priority 1 listing which may account for the sheer number of scholarships given in the area of Science, Math and Technology.
When asked about whether or not the large sum of Science, Math and Technology scholarships has influenced her decision of subject choices and career path, St Joseph's Convent, St. Joseph sixth form Science student, Sherise Charles said "Personally I chose my subjects based on the career path I was thinking of pursuing but I do think that scholarships are a deciding factor for most people". Modern Studies sixth form student from the same school, Felisha Khan also responded "No. If I don't win a scholarship, I'm pursuing what I want to do even if that means it's a little more difficult because I want to give my all in my career".