Three students pursuing Bachelor of Science degrees in Software Engineering have been awarded scholarships by MC Systems, the technology company of MCS Group, the non-financial division of The Jamaica National Group, to complete their programme at The University of West Indies & Global Institute of Software Technology (GIST), China.
The students: Ashray Soares, Shane Okukenku and Tevin Taylor, were awarded the scholarships recently and are currently in China completing the final two years of their programme.
“I feel extremely honoured and appreciated being a recipient of this MC Systems scholarship. It has made a significant impact on my financial well-being,” an elated Ashray Soares said.
He was contemplating withdrawing from the programme, due to financial difficulties.
“The day I heard that I was the recipient of the MC Systems scholarship was one of the best days of my life. The scholarship made my dream of studying in China a reality. MC Systems has helped me to take on this life-changing opportunity of gaining knowledge and experience so that I may someday use the knowledge and experience I have gained to build myself, family, community and country,” said the Smithfield, South Manchester native.
Dwayne Russell, general manager of MC Systems, said he was happy that MC Systems was able to offer the scholarships to the students to complete their programme.
“There are local and global challenges in acquiring talent for the technology industry,” he explained. “Therefore, increasing engagements with universities, through scholarships is one of the initiatives identified to source talent. Consequently, MC Systems has partnered with The University of the West Indies to offer three scholarships for students to earn their BSc. in the Software Engineering (Mobile Application Technologies) programme.”
The scholarship will cover tuition costs for years three and four of the undergraduate degree in Software Engineering at UWI; provide internships during the third year of the programme; and offer job opportunities upon graduation, where they will be bonded to work with MC Systems for two years, on their return.
Dr Curtis Busby-Earle at the Department of Computing, Faculty of Science and Technology at UWI, said the Faculty was appreciative of this partnership with MC Systems, to assist financially challenged students to complete their programme.
“We welcome this partnership with private sector companies, such as MC Systems,” Dr Busby-Earle said, “We encourage other companies to come on board, to provide scholarships for our needy students, as this investment would redound to the development of our country.”
In 2015, UWI and GIST in Suzhou, China, met to advance and finalise an agreement for technological collaboration. GIST, which specialises in the areas of software and information technology, especially mobile internet technology garnered outstanding achievements in China, which conform to the age of the “Internet of Things.”
Their placement rate of graduates is 98 per cent, and this represents a good fit to the university’s strategic commitment to increase the practical skill sets needed for the transformation of the ICT sector in Jamaica, and other CARICOM economies, stated Dr Anthony Fisher, executive director, The UWI China Institute of Information Technology.
The strategic partnership resulted in the formation of the UWI China Institute of Information Technology and the launch of a four-year BSc. in Software Engineering degree programme in 2016, which conforms to the national development priorities in Jamaica, to move the country away from being primarily consumers of software products and services, to producers.
“An investment in skill development to strengthen the software engineering sector in Jamaica will pay many dividends. It will be truly transformational,” Dr Fisher affirmed.
He also stated that the software engineering graduates will be able to strengthen Jamaican industries, address the country’s technology problems and support national development goals across a variety of sectors.