Allow me space to share some of my thoughts on the above topic.
I believe this is not just an issue of selecting candidates for the medical scholarships to study in Cuba. The fact that the Scholarship is part of some bilateral agreements between the parties involved does not mean that the respective ministries should sidestep setting guidelines in selecting candidates.
I agree with the original posting in questioning the criteria used to select candidates. As public bodies, the Ministries involved should be transparent with their selection criteria. The use of the GPA is a practical measure use to select candidates, where they are selected on merits. Areas such as potentials and capabilities should not be given much weight because it would be too early to determine them, unless personel interviews are also carried out.
I remember in our days scholarships are very limited and you have to compete with the rest of Solomon Islands to obtain a scholarship. At the form 6 level a list of scholarship opportunities was provided and students chose their their preferred options. An interview was then carried out throughout the schools and students were then given scholarships not only on their academic performance but also on how they perform during the interview. Thats not the end of it, the scholarship is just provisional, one have to pass F6 and F7 to retain it. If you perform badly at the F7 level, the scholarship will be taken away from you and awarded to whoever is next in line for it.
Having gone through this process, it gives me a feeling of satisfaction just to be in the profession I am now in because I can always look back and say that I've beaten the best in our country to be where I am now. But thats not happening now, and I am wondering how are those who havent gone through such elimination processes feeling now!
I agree with one of our contributors that we should be allowed to chose our own future career. However, my friend, that privilege does not extend to Solomon Islands. It may be true if you're in the US or Europe because your parents can foot your bills for whichever career you choose, however, unfortunately we are in Solomon Islands and there is competition for this scholarships. Therefore the right thing to do is give it to the best students - and how do we measure the best students, by looking at their GPAs!
Cuban Scholarships and GPAs
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Aokeman and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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