Gov’t announces Dame Gwendolyn Tonge scholarship

St. John’s Antigua- Antigua and Barbuda will be awarding a scholarship to honour Dame Gwendolyn Tonge’s contributions to the nation.

Minister of Education and Gender Affairs, Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro made the announcement at Thursday’s thanksgiving service for the life of 88-year-old “Auntie Gwen,” who died on September 28.

“The Cabinet of Antigua & Barbuda has decided, that in honour of this influential daughter of the soil, the Dame Gwendolyn Tonge scholarship on gender studies, will be awarded by the Ministry of Education to a deserving Antiguan & Barbuda student in September 2013,” Dr Quinn-Leandro revealed.

The award would be issued every three years.

Neither the value of the scholarship nor the selection process of candidates was disclosed.

Dame Gwendolyn was an educator, beginning as a pupil teacher in Antigua where she worked for two years – without pay.

It was noted she received training in pedagogy (science of education) in Barbados, University of Puerto Rico, Cornell University in New York and the University of Guelph in Canada.

She taught in several areas, but her most loved area was home economics.

In her biography, it is said she, along with a representative from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) inaugurated the Hotel Training School, now known as the Antigua & Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute.

She started the Women’s Desk in Antigua, was a member of the Senate, and was awarded many titles.

Aunty Gwen gained celebrity status starring in her own TV Show Cooking Magic, the longest such programme in the region.

Having announced the scholarship, Dr Quinn Leandro said, “It is my hope that after today, all of the contributions of this great woman would be chronicled. She was not just a woman, she was a phenomenal woman, who was a movement all by herself and she ought to be read about for generations to come.”