Barbadian students were given a first-hand look at what Europe has to offer in education.
Officials from the European Union (EU) today held an information session on the Erasmus+ Scholarship programme at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, to sensitize students to the opportunities available, especially in environmental science. The Eramus+ programme is aimed at boosting skills and employability, as well as modernizing education, training and youth work.
“Erasmus+ is an exchange programme in Europe in all the 28 member states, and has been very successful. It exists now for over 20 years. We have had millions of applicants, and it has promoted the Europeanization of European citizens,” said Sylvia Kofler, the acting head of the EU delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
“In the last year, this programme has opened up to the world; so now people from this region, the Caribbean, can participate; and we have had approximately 50 to 60 people participating over the last six to seven years. But I think there is an opportunity for many more to participate.”
Kofler was particularly pleased with the level of interest by the students in gaining a scholarship.
“Today it was interesting to see that approximately 50 people here at UWI are interested in participating in one of the programmes of Erasmus+ in Europe; and most of the people here were interested in environmental sciences,” she told Barbados TODAY.
National coordinator of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) in Barbados, David Bynoe, echoed Kofler’s sentiments.
“Several students here today said that they had a keen interest in applying for this scholarship . . . . Most of these students come from an environmental background . . . and are seeking to embark on courses like marine law, the PhD in environmental studies, [and] some are looking at energy. Overall, I would say that the session this morning was extremely successful.”
Bynoe said the programme, which is a partnership between the European Union and Barbados, and the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme, offered studies with great opportunities.
“We are looking to focus on environmental courses, Masters and PhDs that could be of benefit to Barbados and the region, and that can be utilized by local students, even professional academics. This really presents them with the opportunity of mobility to European universities to not only build their capacities in these areas, but have exchange of information and culture at the same time.”
Delia Dominici, the country representative for Dominica, told Barbados TODAY: “As an intern in GEF, SGP, UNDP in Barbados and the OECS for five months’ attachment, with a scholarship [from] the Italian government, I took the opportunity to organize the promotional event . . . to enable students at UWI in Barbados and the OECS to have a better understanding of the opportunities that the European Union is offering in regards to the Erasmus+ and especially the Erasmus Mundus Masters and PhD scholarships.”