Scholarship students bemoan lack of employment

As scores of scholarship students express their frustration about the delay in employment in Public Service, Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag is seeking to clarify moves her ministry is taking to remedy the issue.

Students who were granted scholarships under the Ministry of Public Service have been waiting for several months to receive any word on the employment they were guaranteed in their contracts.

According to section (vii) of the contract awarded to these students, awardees were to “continue/accept employment within the Public Service/Sector or any other agency approved at such remuneration authorized for those jobs at the time of placement for a continuous period of at least 5 years”.

These students, however, who have now graduated from the University of Guyana (UG), are becoming frustrated since they have been waiting for months to be employed as guaranteed by the Public Service.

One graduate, who studied Environmental Studies, explained that she has been waiting for more than a year to receive any positive word from the ministry. “June 2021 has made one year since I am awaiting an employment call from the Public Service ministry,” she said.

Completing her final year of study under the scholarship program, another Environmental Studies graduate noted that it is now extremely difficult for her to be able to render any support to her family since she is restricted from seeking any other forms of employment until she serves her time in the Public Sector. “[It] is extremely [frustrating], considering that I can give no financial support to my family,” she explained.

An International Relations graduate, who also asked not to be named, said that his frustration not only comes from the fact that he has not yet been formally employed by the government, but also the fact that he may not be placed in a ministry to serve in a capacity where his qualification is appropriate “In my instance, I have an IR (International Relations) degree and was told that I may go to the Ministry of Finance…they do not take into consideration your previous work experience and additional academic qualifications that may open up suitable doors for you,” he opined.

In an invited comment on Tuesday, the Minister of Public Service Sonia Parag noted that the ministry has embarked on a procedure that will seek to clear up the issues that recent graduates have had to face. “What we are doing is creating a list for persons for placement and determining who we can place and who we may have to release from their obligations,” the minister said to the Big Smith News Watch.

This would mean that some persons who have been bound by their scholarship contracts will no longer have to “repay” the government for their scholarship by working for the public sector for a specified period. The minister, however, did not specify whether any new obligations may be implemented for these persons.

Parag assured that the ministry is currently working assiduously to rectify the issue and an update should be readily available in a matter of weeks.