Students in Cuba may get stipend increase

The Government of Guyana is considering increasing the monthly stipend given to the scholarship students in Cuba, Minster of Public Service Minister, Jennifer Westford has said.

According to the Public Service Minister, the students currently receive a stipend of Cdn$50 each month which is paid in cash.  The minister told members of the National Assembly that the increase is expected to be revealed in next year’s presentation of the budget.

Westford said there are currently 843 Guyanese students who are studying in Cuba under the scholarship programme. The students attend 15 institutions across 10 provinces in that country. Meanwhile the minister said that there are currently 2 Student Affairs Officers who are responsible for overseeing the students in Cuba; she said, and informed the National Assembly that these officers meet the students on a monthly basis.

PNC/R MP Judith David-Blair had questioned the minister about the stipend provided for the students; she also queried about the regularity of contact that the Student Affairs Officers have with the students.

David-Blair also asked if there was any currently agreement between the governments of Guyana Cuba to facilitate students being easily supported by their parents. According to the PNCR MP, there have been several reports of parents sending various items to their children who were subsequently not allowed access to them.

The minister said she was unaware of this problem and added that there was nothing stopping parents from sending items for their children. The minster said that the government was not prepared to approach the Cuban government on this particular issue.

Meantime, Westford told the National Assembly that 43 students have completed their studies in Cuba and have returned home to fulfill their contractual obligations.  She said they have all  been able to find employment.