Student Elated To Receive $10k Award



Second year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) student, Uzma Azmi was elated to be one of the 42 Students to receive a $10,000 grant award from the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum recently.

In commending the Fijian Government for this one-of-a-kind initiative, Ms Azmi said that she was a private student and was therefore grateful to be receiving this educational support from the Government despite the COVID-19 pandemic taking a hard hit on government revenue.

The 19-year-old who is an only child attributes all her hard work to her parents who have been her pillar of strength.

“My parents come from a humble background and they did not receive any formal education so one of their biggest dreams was to see that I receive proper education and there was emphasis placed on it at home,” she said.

“I am thankful and motivated knowing that we have backing and there is a higher power at work in supporting us no matter what even through this dire time,” Ms Azmi added.

“This is not a small amount especially for me as I live in Nadi and study in Suva. I have expenses such as accommodation, food, transport and fees to consider and for the Government to prioritise us at this time is highly commendable.”

“The A-G is someone I look up to and I have taken his advice of being truthful and passionate about one’s profession to heart and will always carry it with me,” she added.

Ms Azmi is driven about her chosen course and her goal is to be a gynaecologist, which she is passionate about.

In order to meet the criteria, the awardees needed to pass Year 13 with a mark of 340 plus with a GPA of 3.0 and above in their first year and a combined parental income of less $100,000 through means testing.

In congratulating the students, the A-G highlighted that the Government had outlined this grant initiative in the 2021/2022 National Budget for first year MBBS students in particular to assist students after the Government had suspended Toppers and Tertiary Education Loan Scheme funding in the last two financial years for MBBS.
“Education is now completely free from Early Childhood to year 13 and since 2013 we have provided Tertiary Education Loan Scheme and Toppers Scheme under the TSLB,” he said.

“As you know that with the COVID-19 pandemic, government’s revenue halved overnight - the borders were shut down and the ability to generate revenue, and then the commensurate reduction in our GDP meant that there was a lot more strain on government spending.”

“However, we said that we must continue to fund the key areas in government expenditure. So, we did not stop free education in secondary and primary schools. We did not stop poverty alleviation schemes, rural pregnant women getting food vouchers and the disability allowance scheme all continued,” the A-G added.
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