NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha says plans are underway to establish relations between Kenyan and Barbadian institutions to enable students especially those studying medicine to undertake their internships in either countries.
Prof Magoha who held talks with visiting Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Saturday said there was room for medical trainees to be absorbed in different medical institutions in the country upon completing their internships.
He said officials in the ministries of education and health were already exploring modalities for the implementation of a memorandum of understanding signed in August during a State Visit by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Barbadian officials noted the memorandum of understanding would open up places for Barbadian medical students who annually outnumber the internship opportunities at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after they have completed studies at the University of the West Indies.
Prime Minister Mottley who was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Jerome Walcott told the Kenyan officials that as soon as everything was completed to allow the medical programme to get started, she would press ahead with arrangements that would allow for educational exchanges in areas of culture, international trade and bio-security.
Prof Magoha told Mottley he looked forward to an arrangement that would allow Bajan secondary and tertiary students to undertake practical training in Kenya for a prescribed period.
He added that in any such arrangement Kenya “would take care of the Barbadians”, just as he would expect Barbados to take care of any Kenyans who want to undertake a similar programme in Barbados.
The CS also hinted that there may be opportunities for young Barbadian doctors who do their internships in Kenya to remain if they desired.
He told Mottley they were not anticipating any problems in getting the medical internship programme off the ground, noting that the appropriate agreements would be concluded speedily and that all Barbadians students would operate in hospitals of Kenya’s Ministry of Health and supervised by personnel from the University of Nairobi.
Prime Minister Mottley said as soon as everything was completed to allow the medical programme to get started, she wanted to press ahead with arrangements that would allow for educational exchanges in areas of culture, international trade and bio-security.
These discussions, she said, would be led by officials from the University of the West Indies, which is now preparing to open on August 1, 2020, a new Faculty of Arts and Creative Economy at the Cave Hill Campus.
“if we want to have greater control of a lot of what we are doing in terms of South-South trade, then the issue of bio-security will become even more critical,” she added.
However, on the issue of exchanges at the secondary school level, Mottley said her Government preferred an approach in which the two governments set the policy framework and leave the school administrators to work out twinning and exchange opportunities.
“I believe that will work best without us,” she said.
“Let the secondary schools deal with each other directly, and that way they can raise money on their own, establish partnerships and organise visits. We are talking about 15 and 16-year-olds who are old enough to handle being away from home on their own, but young enough still be sponges to new culture.”
Additional reporting by Barbados PMO Press Office