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Commonwealth Scholarships: 50 years of building human resources

4 February 2015

A Commonwealth scholar has praised the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) for providing invaluable networking opportunities and leadership skills.

Belizean Selene Solis, who was awarded a scholarship to pursue an MA in Sociocultural Linguistics at Goldsmiths University of London, was speaking at a forum to discuss support for CSFP.

Since its establishment in 1959, the programme has helped over 30,000 Commonwealth citizens gain Master’s and PhD qualifications and professional development training, and has contributed to major scientific and social advances across the globe.

Solis, who worked at the Institute for Social and Cultural Research, plans to use her qualifications to support her country in language research.

She said: “I was pleasantly surprised and happy that I was awarded this opportunity. Apart from the course itself, I have been afforded exposure, networking opportunities and access to leadership development programmes.”

The event, which was hosted by the Deputy Secretary General (Economic and Social Development) of the Commonwealth, Mr Deodat Maharaj, was attended by a group of Commonwealth High Commissioners and representatives of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Maharaj highlighted the “major achievements” of the programme, which has seen almost 80% of scholars participate in development fields - including in the area of education, environment, health, economic growth and poverty reduction.

He urged Commonwealth governments to “consider increasing support and the number of scholarships” in their countries.

He said: “These scholarships directly contribute to addressing and promoting the Commonwealth Values. They are critical for developing our human resource potential. It is therefore important that we also become advocates and champions of the programme with policy makers and governments.”

The Deputy Secretary General also announced that a report on the state of higher education in the Commonwealth, highlighting the need for its expansion and growth, will be presented at a special session at the upcoming 19th Commonwealth Conference of Education Ministers (CCEM) that will be held in The Bahamas, in June 2015.

He added: “Scholarships within the Commonwealth will certainly contribute directly to addressing and promoting the Commonwealth values and delivering development results."