|Local scholarship student subsistence cut|
|Written by Richard Greenemail@example.com|
|Thursday, 15 September 2011 08:00|
Government will spend $4.4 million for higher education scholarships this year, but subsistence payments will be reduced for international students and eliminated for local students.
“We want parents to share more in the cost of their children’s education,” Beatrice Fulford, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, told the Consultative Forum on Sept. 12. “I know people would feel that this is difficult, however we want the pie to be shared among more students.”
New international scholarship students will see a 10-percent reduction, and existing students will see the same 10-percent cut in January.
Local students’ subsistence will stop at the end of 2011, but there will be a hardship fund in place for the most needy. Who will get that money hasn’t been fully worked out yet, Fulford said, “but let us assure you that we are going to work on it sensibly and sensitively in order that those persons that are really, really, really in need of financial support do get the support.”
The holdup on awarding scholarships this year was caused by a reduction in funding, which led to indecision on how to spend what little money was available, Fulford said.
Just $3.7 million was available for scholarships until recently, when another $700,000 was appropriated with the help of government CEO Martin Stanley, she said.
Fourteen students will receive scholarships for study abroad in areas that are consistent with priority needs of the TCI but are not offered locally.
As for local scholarships, 77 will be awarded — 55 for associate’s degrees, 20 for bachelor’s degrees and two to British West Indies Collegiate.
Valedictorians used to get scholarships in the field of study and institution of their choice, but Fulford said now the scholarship board decides on the institution.
Fulford said the ministry still has not formulated a new scholarship policy since reviews of the program earlier this year revealed abuses of the system.
The review found that nearly two thirds of students were getting money beyond the scholarship period specified in their agreements. Some students even continued to receive scholarship benefits for some years after they had completed their studies.
Most students had failed to report their grades so that government could determine if they were meeting requirements for continued funding.
In primary and secondary education, Director of Education Edgar Howell told the forum that a total of 4,236 students have registered for public schools — 1,729 in four high schools and 2,507 in 10 primary schools. Another 1,692 have enrolled in private schools.
Howell said that the overcrowding now seen in Providenciales schools is also starting to be a problem on Grand Turk.
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