The enormous cut from 400 to 100 national scholarships is indeed traumatic. But there are always several sides to Trinidad and Tobago education stories.
With the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) we have the argument that the Concordat schools enjoy unfair advantages. The principals of these denominational schools can hand-pick their teachers and are assured excellent results every year. They also pick which pupils they want in their classrooms.
Only 4,500 children get admitted to their first choice of secondary school. Some 14,000-plus children, along with equally deeply disappointed parents, are left to catch up with life as best they can.
Fast forward to the sudden loss of 300 island scholarships. Consider the Government paying for 400 island scholarships every year. How many years have we been 100 per cent subsidising 400 applicants?
Consider in five years we have had 20,000 qualified young people seeking gainful employment—graduates for whom we the people have paid vast amounts of money to study anything they please.
So, is it that 15,000 young, healthy, well-educated Trinbagonians have to seek employment out there in foreign because this small Third World country can only assimilate maybe 5,000 graduates? How may of these young people, or their parents, think of the obligatory repayment of billions of dollars in fees? Show us the list. Tell us the amount received to date in repaid fees.
Remember 2010? The year when an ignorant decision to waive paying the housing tax was made? Billions of dollars in revenue lost because of a political nonsensical idea to attract votes?
We will have to pay for Covid-19 vaccines when they become available. We can certainly do with that particular loss of revenue to pay for vaccines and school fees.
Is the T&T Government expected to continue spoon-feeding tertiary education to an impossible degree?
Out there in foreign, students take out specific student loans. These loans are repaid when you commence your career. Santa Claus agreements regarding tertiary education are only endemic to T&T.
For those selfish persons who are saying close down the social programmes, CEPEP and URP, think twice. Think of the thousands of children of these workers who will face starvation.
We need to all wake up and savour the Covid-19 coffee. The Santa Claus-style life in T&T can no longer exist.