With the new academic school year being just around the corner, the University of Belize awarded school grants to over 80 students who qualified for the different scholarships programs at UB. The award ceremony took place at the Jaguar Auditorium in Belmopan on Thursday August 7th, where 13 students received awards for the Barton Scholarship, 62 students received awards for the Athletic scholarships, 1 student was awarded the UB Alumni Association Scholarship and 1 student was awarded the Dian Sylvester scholarship. Dean for Student Affairs at the University of Belize, William Neal, says this year the University will incentivize scholarship recipients to push for higher academic performance.
“What we’ve found is that generally when we set a marker as a 2.5, them students think that that’s the bare minimum. So what we’ve decided to do, especially with the student athletes, is from a 2.5 to a 2.74. They can then qualify just for tuition and fees. If they have 2.75 to 3.o, then they can get either a food allowance or housing, and if they get above 3.0 then they can get the full scholarship, because we think if you work hard then you should be rewarded.”
After the ceremony we spoke with some of the scholarship recipients.
“I am so ecstatic. I appreciate this so much. I’m so grateful. I am looking forward to work so industriously.”
“I have a dream of wanting to change the face of criminal investigation here in Belize, which is very much needed. With this I am able to pursue studies related to that.
[It will cover] minimum [expenses], but I am very grateful for it.
“It motivates me to stay ahead of the game, to do good, and to meet the requirements which is 2.5, but I try to maintain a 3.5 average.”
Students signed contracts for the grants binding them to a list of requirements in particular for students in the Athletic Scholarship.
“We put in a very stringent system, simply because if we’re going to have our students matriculate, especially to the United States, they have to understand that there’s a program that you have to participate in. You don’t get up when you want, and go exercise. That’s a part of what you have to do. So we’re trying to build in the discipline necessary for them to do well, whether it’s putting in gym time, structured gym time, whether it’s study periods, whether it’s tutorials, whatever they need, we make sure that it is outlined clearly for them,. And instead of chasing after them and having to hold their hands through the entire process, we offer support, but at the end of the day the responsibility is theirs.”
The abuse of alcohol and the overwhelming number of students who go clubbing during school days is a growing problem for the University and is among the main reasons, according to Dean of Student Affairs, for poor academic performance. Francis Mejia is one of the recipients of the Barton scholarship and he believes this problem can be avoided if students only manage their time properly.
“To me the key thing is time management, because there’s a tome for everything, because ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. So at the end of the day, it’s about balancing your life, because you can’t expect that you’ve got a project to do tomorrow and them you’ve got to go to the club tonight, and expect to come back from the club three o’clock and finish it. So it’s about time management. All you’ve got to do is stay focussed, and you have the whole weekends to do that. So you just have to remember keep your eye on the prize and go for the goal.”