Problems with the Scholarship Desk

It is with great disappointment that I have to be forced to write this letter. I have been very patient in not contacting the Scholarship Desk thus far because I wanted to let them do their job without me pestering them. However, year after year I have watched as various departments of the public service operate in an extremely lackadaisical manner, forgetting that they were employed to work in the best interest of the Grenadian public.

With that being said, I am by no means impressed that the Ministry of Education is an active participant in the laid back, “lasy” mentality. Is education not one of the main engines of growth in this country?

I am referring particularly to the Scholarship Desk and its procedures. Why is it that every year scholarship applicants have to endure the same turmoil? We submit early and then have to endure the torture of finding out the status of our applications at the 99th hour. How does this make any sense? Do we not deserve the respect of knowing our status early enough so that we may seek alternative methods of financial aid if necessary?

When we find out a week before or a day before our respective programs start, in the event that our scholarship application has been denied, how are we then able to apply for loans if we decide to?

I find this extremely inefficient on the Ministry’s part. Education is an investment! Please stop treating the applicants like we are pests who should be eternally grateful for the favour you are extending to us.

For some programs, school starts in less than two weeks. Yet every time my fellow applicants call the Scholarship Desk they are met with irritated responses from the workers there telling them that applications have not been processed yet! Seriously?

We did our part! We made the effort and submitted our documents on time. In the event that you were not aware, at a University level, students are required to purchase reading material beforehand. How can we comfortably purchase material i.e make the sacrifice and spend money that we already don’t have, not knowing whether or not we will be able to start school.

A lot of people apply for the scholarships because we need the financial assistance and we genuinely want to see good for Grenada in the long run. We do not do it just for “kicks” and we certainly do not do it because we enjoy putting up with these inefficiencies.

Last year one applicant told me that she was not informed that she received the scholarship until the Friday before school started. Is that really fair? How much time does that really give us to prepare for the semester?

The type of inefficiencies that exist in the public sector is exactly the reason why brain drain is so rampant among the youth. We need to change this. It is not a good look!

In a nutshell, we really really need to do better than this. Think of the applicants for once and what we must be going through. This really is not good enough. Some people have one week left until the start of the school year. Please just let us know what is happening. Do not let us have to go through carnival worrying about whether or not we will be able to start school.

Please employ some degree of professionalism going forth. The Ministry needs a better strategy in dealing with applications. You should have a deadline for when all applications should be processed and it should be at a time that would give applicants enough time to seek alternative measures if needed. In the event that you have not been doing so, please start paying attention to the start date of each program and use that as a guide.

I hope this letter brings about some positive change.

Mark Ashleigh

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