In the 1960s/’70s, when secondary school pupils wrote the much harder GCE A-Level exams, there were ten National Scholarships on offer—two in each of five subject areas. To get one of those, you had to be really “bright”.

In recent times, with the comparatively low standard of CXC CAPE exams, the Government has been “wasting” money on hundreds of scholarships to mediocre pupils.

Now they are offering ten in each of ten “cognate groupings” (subject areas, to you and me. Do these politicians ever listen to themselves?). That’s 100 scholarships. That’s still way too many, if you ask me.

Also, many of these “cognate groupings” are cosmetic—pupils do them because they can’t do the “serious” subjects.

They won’t ever be able to contribute to the national good. So, why should I pay for them to go to university? Sure, people are free to study what they want, but not at my expense.

Reducing the number of scholarships does not disadvantage anyone. If anything, it should make pupils work harder, and only those who really deserve it should get one.

“Poor” pupils should be afforded loan facilities, overseen by banks, not ministry clerks (but guaranteed by the Government), with generous payback terms—but payback, nonetheless, upon graduation. It’s not free money.

In other words, no one should be able to claim they couldn’t go to university because they were poor. We’ll lend you the money, but you must pay it back.

In the US, for instance, college students have to work odd jobs (waiters, barmen, bouncers, car park attendants) or take out a student loan (which they have to pay back—unlike here, where it’s not seriously enforced).

As the saying goes, when you work hard for something, you appreciate it more.

A Charles

via e-mail

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Dennis Hall, better known as Sprangalang, was honoured by having the street to enter Skinner Park named after him.

Special thanks to Mayor Junia Regrello.

There are some people you cannot please. It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

How does one put $1,000, or $10,000, in someone else’s hands, forget it for two weeks or two months, add nothing to it, and expect to receive $20,000, or $50,000, at the end? Is there some obeah that multiplies this money magically?

The four core principles from the International Convention on the Rights of the Child are as follows: non-discrimination, devotion to the best interests of the child, the right to life, survival and development.

They stem from the declarations in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child—a legally binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of race, religion or abilities.

In Trinidad and Tobago, however, these rights are found to have been breached in all too common and cavalier a manner, with disquieting frequency, in what appears to be the ingrained behaviour of adults.

I shouldn’t have been surprised by the volume of responses to my last column on domestic violence and sexual abuse. They are obviously prevalent though we can only guess at the extent.

In 2015, our GDP had declined for four consecutive quarters—we were in a recession which was caused by the reduction in foreign exchange earned by the energy sector. This situation continued into 2020, forcing the Government into continuing deficit budgets, the use of the HSF and drawdown on the foreign reserves.

The idiom “might is right” has proven itself to be true more often than not, especially in these times. I am referring specifically to possible broken election promises with regard to prioritisation of major public projects.