New boss appointed to oversee scholarships

| 10/03/2011

(CNS): Deirdre Seymour, who previously worked in the trust and corporate world, has been appointed as head of the education department’s Scholarship Secretariat. According to a release from GIS on Thursday, Seymour was officially appointed in January following a competitive recruitment process. The secretariat was recently restructured and there are now three members of staff at the unit tasked with ensuring an appropriate return on investment from those who earn government-sponsored academic scholarships. In June last year the education minister said that scholarship recipients were not being properly monitored and even those who were failing were still receiving government money to remain in college, but that was going to change.

He warned that in future the secretariat would be monitoring students on scholarships and those who were not performing would lose their funding. “Students are graduating with degrees that barely make the grade. The government must act decisively and swiftly in order to raise standards,” he said, adding that graduates were finding it difficult to get work because of poor performance in university.

Seymour will be responsible for monitoring and tracking scholarship recipient progress, providing strategic and operational direction for the unit and improving efficiency and effectiveness levels, officials stated.

A former trust andcorporate professional, Seymour brings 20 years of customer service and managerial experience to the post. Having also served as both member and chairperson for several home-school and parent-teacher associations and lately for Cayman’s Education Council, she also brings specific education knowledge.

Ministry of Education, Training and Employment Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues said her appointment completed the unit’s redevelopment, as she welcomed Seymour to the Scholarship Secretariat team.

“Because the scholarship programme is so critical to the continued education of our students, we’re really happy to have her on board,” she said. “Already, she’s spearheading the launch of an online scholarship application system and we’re excited about that.”

Falling under the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment, the Scholarship Secretariat currently serves some 1,000 active post-secondary and tertiary education students on overseas and local scholarships as well as on local education grants, mounting to almost $10 million.

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  1. SMB says:

    I think it is time to award scholarships based on merit (high grades) or genuine financial need.

    There are people (parents) milking this system that can easily afford to pay for their children’s education.

    I personally know of a couple who make in excess of of CI $ 250K / annum who are pocketing money from the scholarship fund.

    I think that is wrong. I think it is greedy and I feel resentful when I pay Government fees to help these people line their wallets.

    Scholarships are good thing but the current system is not just. I hope Mrs. Seymour will work to improve the current mechanism.

    I think a set ofstandard procedures and guidelines would help to make the award process more transparent and impartial and should cut down on the likelihood that scholarships are granted based on the premise that this one is related to that one, or is friends with this one etc.

  2. Lisa says:

    Congrats Deirdre,

    We are so proud of you. One step further into fulling your dreams.


  3. Anonymous says:

     Congrats Deirdre,


    You make us Crewe Roaders Proud

    I know you are very suited for this and will do a great job.





  4. Trueblood says:

    IMO, the fact that they issue scholarships to just about anyone is the main problem. Why hand out a scholarship to someone who has never proved themselves academically? Some people want to go to law school, med school etc……just to appear productive as if they are doing something with their life when no real desire or effort is put in to their studies. I’m appalled at the amount of students who graduate every year from high school with failing/mediocre grades. Give the scholarships to those who truly deserve them and not just the person’s looking for an escape to the USA. I know quite a few people who will use the Gov’t scholarship as a way to live and remain there. A more in depth examining in to the person’s college of choice/location should definitely be looked at. No one has to be the perfect student all their lives to become a prolific member of society but I do believe certain privileges should be earned.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is interesting to note that the Minister of Education said that graduates (not all of them I am sure) are having a hard time finding work due to poor performance at university. Perhaps this is the reason more so than companies not wanting to hire Caymanians, expats taking jobs etc. etc. The students are the ones losing out.

    • Aron Salomon says:

      Poor academic performance is the explanation behind the infamous law students with no articles from what I am told.  Did we ever see any of them go pubic with their grades?  No!  Imagine our legislature debating the job prospects of those with inadequate academic records. 

  6. Value for Money says:

    Can we please get much better value for money and prioritise UK universities?  Although these have become more expensive this year the tuition fees for an entire degree at a top UK university will still be about $40,000 – compare that to $100,000 at University of Tampa.

    This should not be a choice for a student, it should be mandatory for all those who want scholarship money.

  7. Anonymous says:

    "act decisively and swiftly"  You are too funny.  There was a story about students with failing grades collecting money about a year or 2 ago.  

    If it is really and issue.. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!  If you’re just posturing (my bet)  JUST SHUT UP!

  8. Anonymous says:

    A guaranteed student loan programme (with zero interest during the time spent in college and for 6 months thereafer) is much better than a scholarship program.  This works quite well in the US …and so there is no reason why CI Govt could not follow this model.  With student loans the money will keep recirculating…as it is paid back.    I am yet to hear any politician speak out as to why a student loan programme is a bad idea.  Stop giving scholarships and convert all such funding to zero interest loans…surely this will help balance our budget!

    • slowpoke says:

       "This works quite well in the US "  HAHAHA –  that is the funniest thing I have read all day.

      • Anonymous says:

        The big question is scholarships vs loans. Sure there may be problems with loan administration which can be resolved. At least a loan is not a hand out!

  9. Anonymous says:

    About time! I always feel so bad for the secretariat because they’re understaffed relative to the large number of students they need to monitor. It’s a great step in the right direction, particularly because it was so difficult to keep students accountable for their educations paid from my pocket!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see if the grades are any better this summer and if any of the 1,000 grant recipients actually lose their funding, or is it the usual politician hot air threats? Remember, the Minister announced this in June last year so all the students have already been warned

  11. Anonymous says:

    Congrates to Deirdre, this is the job that is suited for her. No other person is more deserving. She will serve the Ministry and all the students well. All the best.