Honoring Scholarship Bonds

It is no secret that Grenada has benefited from the establishment of decades old diplomatic relations with countries with healthy economies. One of those benefits is scholarships, which are awarded to Grenadians to pursue degrees in various disciplines.

The Ministry of Education issues bond agreements to all scholarship recipients on behalf of the government of Grenada. Those bonds must be signed and returned to the Scholarship Desk at the Ministry of Education, indicating that recipients concur with the terms and conditions.

I was denied without reason a scholarship opportunity on two occasions. However, in 2014 I was eventually granted the opportunity.

I was among many fortunate Grenadians to have received an academic scholarship to pursue my masters (one year duration).

In contact with fellow Grenadians at a get-together in China, all of whom were on scholarships, they made it categorically clear that they will not return to Grenada on completion of their studies.

One student said: “I will stay here despite the challenges, at least there are countless opportunities here to find a decent job, why should I run back home to nothing.”

I was flabbergasted by his sentiments but everyone else seemed to be on the same page with him.

I couldn’t see through his lens though, I was anxious to return home to honour the bond I signed and to give back to my country for the kindness afforded to me.

I graduated top of my class and program, so too did my fellow Grenadian at Tsingua University in China. He stayed after accepting a scholarship from the university; I on the other hand declined the opportunity and chose to return home.

It has been 11 months since my arrival, 24 job applications to both private and public sector and I am still at home, unemployed. It will be a year soon and I have concluded that I have honoured my bond by being here and the efforts I have made to gain employment but my government clearly is yet to honour its obligation as noted in the bond.

The fourth obligation of the government is “use best efforts to make employment available to the student in keeping with his/her qualification and training set upon the student’s successful completion of the agreed course of studies.”

These words speak volumes; the government can assist and promised to assist with employment. I had a conversation with the Parliamentary Representative in my area, I gave him my CV and he said, “I’ll look into something for you; we need young people like you here.”

It has been 6 months and I never heard a word from him since. There are several other young people who are in similar situations, educated and unemployed but the obvious commonality for this situation is our political affiliation and that’s quite unfortunate.

I am yet to comprehend why is it that people are victimised for their or their family’s political affiliation in a democratic country. My credentials, willingness to work, produce and make a difference should not be stifled because I do not support the political party of the day.

Upon observation, it is safe to say that NNPites are the privileged in my community/country. For those of us who are not in that boat we are ignored and pushed aside. Apparently, jobs in Grenada are rarely secured on the premise of merit and qualification but through “political linkology.”

I demand a change for all of us who are victimised and cornered. I demand that the government-of-the-day cease from using politics as the deciding factor for who gets to work and who gets to sit at home.

Moreover, it is my hope that the officials at the Human Resource office in the Ministry of Education will do more to assist returning students with employment opportunities.

I am suggesting better dialogue with students where a network of some sort can be created with the government and the private sector in an effort to provide employment for Grenadians returning home having completed their studies.

Until then, it will continue to be very difficult for returning students to honour scholarship bonds without the necessary opportunities to do so.

Graduate Student

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