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Vincentians graduate with degrees from Malaysia

Vincentians graduate with degrees from Malaysia

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Two years after three Vincentians decided to quit university studies in Malaysia, six of their compatriots who started the programme with them have successfully graduated with Bachelor’s degrees.{{more}}

On Saturday, December 19 2009, Jinelle Adams, Rachel Bailey, Yonnette Belmar, Adrian Da Silva, Nickkisha Farrell and Jennifer Forbes received Bachelor’s degrees when they graduated from the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology Campus in Cyberjaya, Malaysia.

The degrees were awarded in the fields of Mass Communication, Information Technology, Fashion and Retailing, International Business, E-commerce, and Software Engineering.

The graduates walked away with six of the university’s most prestigious awards, which included the coveted President’s Award for Creativity shared by Adams and Farrell. The President’s Award for Excellence was copped by Belmar, while the Young Achievers and Industry Awards went to Da Silva and Forbes.

Ten students left these shores in February 2007 to take up scholarships at the Limkokwing University as part of the government’s scholarship arrangement with Malaysia, which was to see 100 Vincentian students given scholarships over a period of five years.

By the end of the first academic year, some of the students sent Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves a document questioning the accreditation of the courses they were pursuing.

The problem related to newly formatted courses which had not yet been accredited by the Malaysian accreditation board. It was claimed that nine of the 10 courses being done by the Vincentian students were not accredited.

President of Limkokwing University, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dr.Lim Kok Wing, in a letter to Prime Minister Gonsalves on January 8th, 2008, said the whole matter was just a big misunderstanding.

He explained that it takes three years for a new programme to be accredited in Malaysia, but added: “It is time-sensitive, and is no reflection of quality or recognition. All programmes offered and delivered have been approved, meaning they are recognized”.

In February 2008, three of the students expressed disappointment and opted to quit their studies and return to St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

Less than a month after the government had forked out $20,000 to bring the three students home, two of the students decided to return to Malaysia, as their courses had been approved since their return to St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

In March 2008, Acting Chief Personnel Officer Tyrone Burke, commenting on the students’ termination of their studies, stated it was unlikely that the government would contribute to the students’ return, saying that to do so would be “setting a bad precedent”.

Nickkisha Farrell, one of the students who stayed on in Malaysia and completed her studies, is elated to have graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology.

Farrell, who returned to the state last Monday night admitted that after the Vincentian students discovered that there was an accreditation issue, they were all worried.

However, they were contacted by the university and assured that the situation would be rectified.

The 23-year-old who was also accepted to pursue studies at the University of the West Indies described her stint in Malaysia as a life changing experience.

She told SEARCHLIGHT that had her colleagues stayed on, she is sure they would have graduated with her on December 19.

“It’s a worthwhile experience. I have grown as an individual. For me it helped me to grow holistically, mentally, spiritually, and academically,” said Farrell.

She expressed the desire to get a job with the public sector to assist in the development of Information Technology in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.(HN)

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