#Jamaica, November 7, 2017 – Kingston – Without a $1-million scholarship from the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), Chedukia Langley, a fourth-year medical student at the University of the West Indies (UWI), says she would not have been able to meet her financial obligations to the university, and faced the possibility of being deregistered.
Chedukia, who spoke to JIS News at PATH’s 15th anniversary scholarship awards ceremony held at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge in St. Andrew on October 27, says with the money received, she was able to clear outstanding fees for last year and make a deposit on this year’s tuition.
The 22-year-old, who started UWI in 2014, tells JIS News that even with two scholarships, she was unable to meet her full tuition cost of $3.5 million per annum for her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree, in addition to other expenses, including travelling, as she is a commuting student.
“I was at the brink of dropping out, because, although I had gotten scholarships, I still owed the university, and I did not know how I was going to pay,” she says.
The student, who has been a PATH beneficiary since high school, says that when she heard that she would be a scholarship recipient she was “beyond elated”.
“PATH is aimed at breaking the generational cycle (of poverty). They recognised that I needed the help, and they knew I could help other persons as well as contribute to Jamaica’s economic development. They made a wise investment in me,” Chedukia says.
The former Glenmuir High School student, who was born in St. Elizabeth, tells JIS News that becoming a medical doctor is a dream she has had from a young age.
“I wanted to become a doctor from I was very small. I always said I wanted to go to Glenmuir High School and become a doctor. Medicine is a rewarding career, and you get to help people where you can restore someone’s health,” she notes.
Chedukia says it has taken much sacrifice to get to this point, including leaving home to live with an aunt in Old Harbour, and she is determined to persevere in order to make life better for herself and her family.
“I can’t say I had an excellent childhood, but it was okay. I wasn’t living with my dad or my mom at one point in my life. We lived in one room with a zinc kitchen and (pit) latrine. My mother had six children, but it was okay,” the young woman tells JIS News.
Amidst all her challenges, Chedukia says she remained determined to excel, scoring grade ones in Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Mathematics, English Language, History, Spanish, Food and Nutrition, Physical Education, Office Administration, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Electronic Document Preparation and Management (EPDM). Chedukia tells JIS News that her next major goal is to complete her degree programme. She intends to work in the public sector and then enter private practice.
PATH is an initiative by the Government of Jamaica with support from donor partners, such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and other multilateral and bilateral agencies. It is aimed at delivering benefits by way of cash grants to the poorest and most vulnerable persons in the society.
The programme is administrated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and the main objectives are to increase educational attainment and improve health outcomes of the poor, break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, reduce child labour by requiring children to have minimum attendance in school, and serve as a safety net by preventing families from falling further into poverty in the event of adverse shock.
As at June 2017, 70.62 per cent of registered PATH beneficiaries were children up to 18 years old.
In celebration of its 15th year of service to the people of Jamaica, PATH offered tertiary scholarships valued at $15 million to beneficiaries pursuing bachelor’s degrees at accredited institutions, to assist in covering the cost of tuition and books.
Seventeen students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in law, medicine, actuarial science, engineering, chemistry, plant biology and psychology received those awards.
The funds will be disbursed over a period of up to three years, with the condition that the recipients maintain a GPA of at least 2.5.
By: Ainsworth Morris