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National scholarships have not been reduced – Prime Minister


The number of national scholarships awarded each year fluctuates, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said yesterday.{{more}}

He was responding to an article in The News newspaper Friday about the number of national scholarships being reduced.

Two national scholarships and four exhibition scholarships were presented.

There is a minimum standard and two national scholarships and four exhibitions are awarded every year, Gonsalves said.

“Sometime we give six scholarships and six to seven exhibitions and particular bursaries,” the prime minister said.

But it all depended on how well the students performed, he added.

He said national scholarships are for five years and include the payment of EC$20,000 economic cost, $10,000 tuition and books and other living expenses of $37,000.

An exhibition scholarship has same arrangement, but lasts three years, the prime minister explained.

“Now, it can’t be reasonable to give national scholarships to somebody with two B’s and a C. They may get an exhibition … you have to have some A’s in the mix and you have to have a particular average,” the prime minister said.

The numbers of students going to university will not be reduced, nor will the money allocated for this purpose be reduced, the prime minister said.

“In fact, the numbers will increase, because if you have two rather than six being so expensive, you will be able to give seven over a three year period and when giving $20,000 bursaries you will be able to give more because the pot of money is not going to be reduced.”

Gonsalves also explained the reason for his government not giving bursaries to ‘A’ Level students.

He said giving bursaries would have been unfair to students who did not get a scholarship or bursary last year, but whose grades were better than those this year.

In this case, students were being advised to apply to the training division for a bursary.

He said that the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Prime Minister should have explained this.

He, however, said The News could have called and cleared up the issue. (DD)