BVI News

Scholarship crackdown: Ministry to enforce that recipients return govt’s investment

Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley.

The Ministry of Education will be cracking down on scholarship recipients whereby they (the recipients) will be mandated to uphold their bonds to the government, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has said.

Dr Wheatley said this is one of the ways that the Fahie-led administration intends to get returns on their investment in the territory’s youth.

“Over the years we have allocated millions upon millions of dollars to the training of our students,” the Education Minister said while delivering remarks at Monday’s sitting of the House of Assembly. “Scholarship students must sign a bond, but it is rare that this bond is enforced. Therefore we have many recipients of scholarships who live and work abroad.”

He explained that while he encourages and supports students getting some experience abroad, the country must see the benefits of these scholarships.

Dr Wheatley further pledged to implement measures to ensure that these scholarship students have a good opportunity to be employed in both the public and private sectors upon their return to the territory.

“Hence, students on scholarships can expect for the bond they signed to be enforced,” Dr Wheatley said.

Scholarship programme now open

In the meantime, Dr Wheatley said the VI Scholarship programme is now accepting applicants.

He explained that students who want to apply for the 2020/2021 academic year must do so before September 30.

“The majority of Scholarships will be allocated to graduates from the H Lavity Stoutt Community College for two years abroad,” the minister told the House of Assembly.

“These scholarships will be in specified areas of study. For instance, you will have a specific number of scholarships in health-related fields, technical fields, administrative fields etcetera. These specified areas of study will be tied directly to the labour demands of the territory,” he added.

“Only a specific amount of total scholarships will be awarded every year, and the process will be a competitive one considering a student’s overall academic performance.”

And while students without passes in five CSEC subjects will not be disqualified, the minister said all local and external exams will be considered in evaluating the student’s suitability for an award.

A list of the specific scholarships will be made available by the end of June.

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48 Comments

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  1. Finally says:

    Thank you!!!

    Like 24
    Dislike 1
  2. VICKIE says:

    MR WHEATLEY EVEN THOUGH I AGREE THEY MUST COME BACK YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT SOME CAME BACK AND WERE TURN DOWN BY THEIR OWN PEOPLE. THERE IS NOTHING IN PLACE FOR WHEN THESE YOUNG PEOPLE COME HOME FOR THEM. THAT IS SOMETHING YOU NEED TO WORK ON . YOU ALL BRINGING IN PEOPLE AND WHEN THE YOUNG PEOLPLE COME IS A DIFFERENT THING PLUS THERE ARE QUALIFY PEOPLE COME HOME AND THEY HAD TO RETURN BECAUSE THE PEOPLE WHO IN CHARGE OF HIRING TURN THEM DOWN I KNOW PEOPLE BY NAME WHO DID THAT. IT IS TIME YOU ALL LOOK OUT FOR YOUR QUALIFY PEOPLE AND TRY TO ENCOURAGE THE YOUNG PEOPLE TO FOCUS TO GET A GOOD EDUCATION TO HOLD THE POSITION WITH OUT EDUCATION AND A GOOD ATTIUDE THEY WILL BE LEFT OUT.IT IS TIME TO FOCUS ON THE YOUNG ONES WHO IS THE FUTURE GENERATION. ONE MINISTER SAY HE CANNOT PROTECT US PLEASE PUT SOMETHING IN PLACE TO PROTCT US IT IS OUR HOME WHAT SO WE HAVE TO PROTECT IT AT ANY CAUSE.

    Like 22
    Dislike 6
    • @ Vickie says:

      who are you YELLING at?

      Like 17
      Dislike 2
    • WEll says:

      Stay and pay it back!

      Like 12
      Dislike 4
    • Reality says:

      I think the reason they come home and are unable to find work is connected with the course of study they choose to pursue. That story is commonplace and from all indications, true. On a deep level, that suggests that these students are not being sent away to study the right disciplines, and they are not because there is no national plan for development of the Territory against which scholarships are issued. If there is a national plan that makes certain areas of study a priority, coupled, for example, with deliberate moves to attract foreign/local investment to create and sustain the labour demand in those areas, then there will be work when these students return. An ad hoc approach to what are our labour needs from time to time (which are dynamic) doesn’t work because by the time they finish studies and return, the labour needs identified at the time the scholarship was granted would have long changed. Even the current immigration debacle would not be as difficult for people to rationalise and Government to resolve if there was the backdrop of a national development plan for the Territory which would then drive the volume of and who gets approved and for what. It means that Government really needs to sit down and on the basis of deep and thoughtful analysis based on empirical data that I know is available.

      Like 10
  3. Yes says:

    I second that!

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  4. Good says:

    The most sensible thing I heard coming out of this administration thus far.

    Like 18
    Dislike 3
    • Ausar says:

      Pure Fraught, you’re talking “Good”;

      pure fraught!

      This administration is tackling many of the issues that are near and dear to the hearts of many Belongers!

      Fool ah talk, but ain’t no fool listening!

      Like 3
      Dislike 3
  5. Lily Ann says:

    So they give you a gift and want to tell u how to use it??? Absurd!!!

    Like 2
    Dislike 46
    • Whuh?! says:

      Gift?!!! Lol

      No one is signing a bond for a gift!

      I don’t even thinking coming back home is the problem because many came back and had NO Work for years including myself. The administration was not prepared for when some students come home. They have nowhere to put them. And so students are forced to leave and go find job elsewhere.

      Additionally, once you have become qualified no one wants to hire you because they are not willing to pay for the degree you worked so hard to achieve. They prefer to go for the Filipinos who will do the work for low wages.

      Go figure.

      Like 28
      Dislike 1
      • BVI taxpayer says:

        The government gave you a bonded scholarship so you can return and work in the BVI, it is up to you to find a job. If you have to leave and work elsewhere then you need to pay back until the bond is satisfied. Simple.

        Like 5
        Dislike 1
    • Hear this mumu says:

      Find out the meaning of bond and then talk with common sense.

      Like 12
      Dislike 1
    • Be realistic says:

      It is not a gift, that is why the bond is signed. The government ensures that the populace is educated so that the country can be developed and prosperous, for they also know if we had to accumulate the funds, most of us would not be able to have an education.
      It is an equation : we develop you, you develop the nation.
      What is wrong in coming back and working for your bonded time.. the government hasn’t asked you to surrender er your life they only want 4 years. After that you can pursue your dreams. Those who accept knowing they will not come back are jeopardizing the future of others. For will the government continue to invest where there is no return? Be wise and stop being foolish, only your parents would give you such a gift.

  6. Quiet Warrior says:

    Scholarship recipients who don’t live up to their contractual obligations by returning to the territory after graduation are cheating the taxpayers and depriving the territory of critical skill sets. If scholarship recipients do not intend to return to the territory after graduation they should not accept the scholarship, even if they reimbursed the taxpayers. Their taking the scholarship means someone else who had intentions to return to the territory was shut out. The territory has a shortage of critical skills so scholarship recipients who do not return exacerbates the shortage, even if they repay the taxpayers. Will the contract for those who jump ship be enforced and if no why not?

    On another note, the territory must evaluate its skills need and award scholarships based on these needs. The previous approach has produced a glut of some skills, ie, lawyers but shortages in other areas. It must train to meet its most urgent need. It cool to work in air conditioned spaces but Virgin Islanders must launch out into areas. There are other needs beside being a lawyer, doctor, engineer, architect……etc. Other skills include nurse, teacher, electrician, auto mechanic, diesel mechanic, plumber, carpenter, IT, mason, joiner, air condition tech, draftsman, chef, equipment operator, welder……etc. There is no stigma to working outside with one’s hand.

    Like 27
    Dislike 1
    • Call Me Ishmael says:

      The better approach to solving this problem is to make these loans that are repayable after the sooner of graduation or leaving school.

      If the student returns to our fair isles after graduation then they may be eligible to deduct their loan payments from taxes that they may owe. If they come back and create new jobs they should be equally rewarded.

      Like 4
      Dislike 4
      • Concern says:

        The program should just be renamed to educational loans rather than scholarships. I think the granting of scholarships to the Val and Sal shouldn’t be repaid as they earned that achievement. But if you apply for a scholarship then it should be repaid and renamed as a loan.

        • J says:

          The top achievers should not be exempted. Their gift is the knowledge that they would have gained and the joy of knowing that they have done well. If we want to attract the brightest minds, how could our top achievers be exempted?

      • Research says:

        The Ministry already offer loans with the National Bank of the Virgin Islands. With the loans offered, you only pay the interest rate until you graduate, after which u pay the principle.

    • One concern says:

      Granted that I agree with you with regard to scholarships based on the needs of the country, what would we do about an exceptional youth who is passionate about becoming a doctor and the Territory is only focusing on other skill sets, say in the technical field?
      Should that person seek a scholarship to train to become a welder?
      Just asking.

      Like 3
      Dislike 4
      • QW says:

        @One concern, I’m not advocating for craft training (welder, carpenter, mason, electrician.etc) over professional (lawyer, doctor, engineer, architect) or paraprofessional (paralegal, engineering tech…..etc. In meeting the national need, there must be a balance . That exceptional youth should be considered for a scholarship based on national needs. There must be focus on STEM(Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) so as to be more competive in the global economy. This type of training is critical to building a knowledge-based economy to diversify the economy.

        Like 11
    • QW says:

      If students had the means of repaying loan after graduation or leaving school, why would need a scholarship. If taxpayers invest in one’s education, one should return and pay back the taxpayers with one’s service. Students staying overseas and repaying the loan is in the individual interest, not the national/community interest. The country will be still short of the needed skill set.

  7. Not a Gift!! says:

    It’s technically not a gift, it’s an investment. You have to look at it at a business stand point, If I see potential in somebody whereas they can go away and be better and become a doctor, lawyer, minister, why would I want my BVIslander to be abroad with these gifts that I spend money to hone and polish? They should come back. I would want to see returns on my investment..

  8. Not coming back says:

    Find good paying jobs for them ,that will encourage them to return.

    Like 9
    Dislike 7
    • SMH says:

      This is the problem. You don’t just ‘find’ jobs! Where is the data that is reviewed in order to determine how many scholarships in each field should be awarded? We appoint a bunch of dinosaurs to these boards and that’s why everything is behind time. How can you adequately offer scholarships with the intention to hire these people in 4-5 years but there’s no mechanism in place for succession planning and relative placement? We do everything ass-backwards in the BVI and that’s the problem. We shout from sage mountain “DO NOT LET IN ANY MORE EXPATS ON PERMITS!” but who will do the jobs that we refuse to train our people to do?

  9. Wow says:

    Finally we are hearing about this. Well said Hon Wheatley.

  10. vip heckler says:

    This guy seems like he will do a better job on the police force along with his leader jong fahie

    Like 8
    Dislike 7
  11. Anonymous says:

    As a college recipient who have benefited from this program i so agree. I know of some persons who did in fact came back home but could not be placed in the system, fine but for others that placed a blind eye on coming back home and got their full education to work elsewhere is shameful.
    The govt did not have to do this for us but saw the need to assist in our growth or promotion in the territory and because of this today some persons are put through the ringer in acquiring a scholarship.
    Let the persons who sign the bond repay govt if persons did not return home, thats what was guaranteed . VIP recover all monies or have persons return to work, we can find place to put them.

    Like 8
    Dislike 3
  12. @ Vickie says:

    who are you YELLING at?

  13. Lol says:

    It’s not a right, it’s a privilege (sic. but jokes aside this is great and only right.

  14. Thats not all! says:

    Tell them pay back the Govt back the student loans tooo while you at it!!

  15. ndp heckler says:

    but the 7.2 million dollar$ did not come back neither

    Like 5
    Dislike 7
  16. hmm says:

    so what about students that were given scholarships for the past 5 to 10 years, are we gonna enforce the bonds as well?

    • Nancy says:

      If the minister is serious, he will start by requiring those persons to repay the funds. I am certain that millions of $$$ will become available. The funds can then be reinvested into the scholarship program.

  17. Scholarship Recipient says:

    Most of these students are born in America and fully well know they are not coming back.

    Go after them yes. The country needs to get a return on their investment. It’s only fair.

    Like 13
  18. Simple says:

    Not picking on any nationality but truth is truth! How many carpenters, engineers, AC technicians, diesel technicians, mechanics, electricians, generator engineers/technicians, masons etc. do we grant scholarships whether it’s to technical schools or traditional colleges? We send a set of people away to study ‘business’ ‘accounting’ and a few other stuff and are shocked as hell when they return and cannot find jobs. Unless we start training our people to take up technical fields and areas in the marine industry we will talk from now til our mouths dry!! Further, persons can be encouraged to come back home and start their own businesses and repay Government in the form of a loan if they don’t want to repay by working years for govt. The problem lies in what people go abroad to study as we obviously have no national plan with respect to careers and needs of the Territory.

    Ask them how many scholarships in the technical fields listed above they have awarded in the past 20 years and you will see why we had that flood of importation of labor over the past few years, particularly after Irma. But where are our freedom fighters who we only hear from when it’s time to cause confusion? Why aren’t they speaking on this topic and trying to help?

  19. local says:

    why alyo want the ppl them back and alyo want give all the expats rights. it have place the ppl live and work when expats taking over..

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  20. Proud BVIslander says:

    While you are at it – like every country in the world, scholarships should be for
    citizens/nationals/indigenous.

    Like 4
    Dislike 5
  21. Ausar says:

    Honourable Wheatley, for this policy to be truly enforced, you have to marry scholarship recipients with a position, PRIOR to their return to the territory!

    It’s not fair for persons to turn down promising stateside careers only to return home and NO position is in place for them!

    Have a list of registrants and their degrees, coupled with the dates of graduation on hand.

    Offer positions via email, to include facsimile of personnel notice, PRIOR to students returning, so that persons can arrive on Friday with personnel notice in hand, and BEGIN in their respective careers on Monday!

    Only an ORDERLY APPROACH to this issue, will solve the current dilemma.

    Anything less is doomed for failure!

  22. :) says:

    This should also be a part of the labor reform.
    There should be a registry of all the people that benefitted from scholarships and identify their skills. We do not need to issue so many work permits for jobs where there are qualified people available. For too long BVIslanders and belongers preferred is just a catch phrase that is used while employers have already guaranteed the job to someone in Europe, Asia and now Latin America seems to be the new trend as well. The problem is that some employers prefer to pay someone from a continent more than locals even if they have the same level of education. Being from the Caribbean only takes you as far as a supervisor or department manager while it’s always the Europeans that are the running the show just like the good old days of the 1800’s. The local HR people aren’t involved in the hiring of the upper level employees it’s usually someone that looks exactly like the foreigners that are doing the hiring so the system is rigged. We need to bring home our students that have already completed their higher learning and put them to work. No need to renew certain work permits. Tell these trust companies and law firms that we insist that you look again because the people are available and no trying to give lowball offers because the people that were guaranteed the jobs didn’t get a lowball offer.

  23. wow says:

    For these programs to work Hon. Wheatley you have to weed out SOME of the spiteful, malcious people working i the Ministry. Start with the pretentious A***** ***. I can tell you she is a great pretender. She prefers to have the schools short staff working the teachers like slaves instead of hiring teachers. Saying too much foreign teachers, or too much Jamacains, evil people.
    Dept. Heads take the foreign teachers and give them the worst classes year after year or when the teachers bring the students to a certian standard take the credit for it. Too much hate. too much discrimmation

  24. grammar police says:

    Students must also learn to write and speak English.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  25. USA says:

    I’m willing to come back but, am I going to be able to find a job in Enviromental science.

  26. Also USA says:

    I am also willing to make arrangements to pay back the monies to the BVI Government/Education Department. Here in America,students have to pay back student loans.

  27. E. Leonard says:

    Undoubtedly, if scholarship recipients have a contractual obligation to return to the territory for a at least a minimal period after graduation, they should. By not returning, and reimbursing the taxpayers for training cost, sets back the territory in meeting its labour needs. For example, if government awarded a scholarship to someone to study medicine (brain surgery), and if after completing training, he/she stays offshore but reimbursed government, the territory is in a worse position than before awarding the scholarship. 10 years has elapsed yet it will not get its brain surgeon. It has to start over the training process.

    Further, are scholarships offered based on an identified position (need) in government or based on a general overall territorial needs? Are scholarship recipients guaranteed a job after graduation? Many regional countries are faced with the challenge of recruiting and retaining talent. There is a skill and brain to developed countries, ie, nurses, teachers…….etc. Why?

    Most regional countries, including the BVI, have small economies with limited opportunities for trained professionals, paraprofessional…..etc. Consequently, many professionals migrate to developed countries. They do so for a myriad of reasons: 1)greater professional opportunity, 2)opportunity to work in their specialty area, 3)better pay, 4) opportunity for more training opportunities and to hone their skill set, 5) convenience of residing in a developed country, 6) greater opportunity(s) for family/children, 7) better standard of living and quality of life offered in developed countries…….etc.

    Nonetheless, despite the draw of developed countries, many people like the quiet, easy going lifestyle, little stress…..etc on staying home. They enjoy being among close family, friends…..etc. They want to contribute to the growth and development of their hometowns. They are not fans of the hustle and bustle of life in developed countries; living, working…etc in developing countries is not everyone’s cup of tea. This is the group that government should target. It should invest on it, respect its talent and contribution, solicit and actively listen to its opinion, recognize and reward its performance, merit based promotions…….etc. Recruiting and retaining talent is challenging but not insurmountable. Government must have a strategic plan for meeting the territory’s labour needs. To recruit and retain professionals, more attractive compensation packages must be devised.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  28. RealPol says:

    Now, you are taking the discussion in a whole new direction. Recognizing and rewarding top performance. Soliciting and respecting opinions. Respecting and appreciating talent…..etc. That is real and diffrent talk. Good talk shipmate, though you were a landlubber. Lol.

  29. Oh please says:

    Oh please. Why not address the real issue. Do you think students stay away because they want to? When government busy issuing work permits to fill ‘professional roles’, they have a bunch of educated students who are being turned down for meaningful positions for lack of experience. Why not say that training schemes will be put in place with each employer and with government to ensure that students who return with an education can obtain the experience they need to take up meaningful and professional positions in the territory. That is what the real problem and resolution is. If this has already been stated then great. Otherwise, oh please!

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  30. HR says:

    Our very own government often fails to acknowledge applications when we wish to return home.

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