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Dr. Gonsalves explains delay in awarding scholarships

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The award of scholarships granted to outstanding students in the Cambridge GCE A’ Level Examinations and the CXC Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) has been delayed.{{more}}

Addressing the issue on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, at a press conference held at Cabinet Room, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said when he inquired about the reason for the delay a week ago, Laura Browne, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, informed him that the Ministry had not received the rankings from CAPE.

“They said that there is somebody who normally deals with the rankings and transmits them. That person was away and the person who is there who is supposed to do it just hadn’t done it and sent it to her,” the Prime Minister explained.

He noted that previously, when students sat the Cambridge GCE A’ Levels only, once Cambridge sent their rankings, students were awarded within a shorter time frame.

“But now people doing CAPE subjects with the Caribbean Examination Council…and that same individual would be doing some subjects at GCE A’ Levels. So you get the rankings coming out of the GCE A’ Levels, but you have to get the rankings for the CAPE subjects and then the Ministry, they have their committee and then they put them together,” Gonsalves explained.

He said he planned to ask the Minister of Education during the meeting of Cabinet to give an update on the issue.

“Because I want for the successful students to get their $500 and I want the people to know who (are the recipients of) National Scholarships,” said Gonsalves.

Last year 10 National Scholarships were offered, along with other scholarships, including special science scholarships, and bursaries, totalling 33.

Gonsalves said there has also been a delay in the distribution of the $500 awarded to successful students in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. “The Government did not want to award those who were successful in the CSEC and leave back those who were successful in the A’ Levels,” said the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Gonsalves said last week, Girlyn Miguel, Minister of Education, made a request of him to have a policy decision about admitting more students to the Technical College.

In 2008, the institution had an intake of approximately 250 students. However, this figure was increased to 480 students in 2009, bringing the institution’s population to over 700 students.

Even with the large intake, Gonsalves said, there is an additional 220 students who have the necessary grades for acceptance.

“In this economic climate, where things are challenging, I asked them to send me a budget as what it will cost to bring in those students. They said $1.2 million, and I gave the approval,” said Gonsalves, explaining that on Tuesday, he had a detailed discussion with his Director General of Finance and Planning for the allocation of the money. (HN)

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