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Letter: Punishing Trinidad and Tobago's tertiary students
Published on August 11, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

Minister of Education Anthony Garcia is further punishing the nation’s tertiary students with dark threats of means testing to access Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) mere weeks before the start of the new semester.

Mr Garcia is compounding the severe cuts to GATE funding with menacing warnings to students, without even the courtesy of appropriate and relevant information of how the means tests will be implemented.

Information on the relevant internet website is vague and ambiguous and leaves students with more questions than answers. The minister’s sketchy particulars and haughty tone are only serving to create more stress among students. Adding to their stress, potential students are also being asked to upload personal information on an unsecured website, without knowing the rate of response from GATE officials.

Mr Garcia’s handling of this matter is typically high-handed, oppressive and arrogant, lacking the requisite detail, care and support.

This follows the scrapping of the free computer laptop and textbooks programmes, shutdown of after-school homework centres, abandonment of the Continuous Assessment Programme and sharp cutbacks to the School Feeding Programme.

In addition, the construction and repair programme of schools and Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centres has been virtually cancelled, leading to major dislocation and inconvenience.

It is a further illustration of a government devoid of vision and leadership and which has cavalierly abandoned the goal of developing a knowledge-based society to be competitive in the modern globalised economy.

The minister of education and the Rowley-led government has betrayed the trust of the parents and students of the nation based on their own 2015 manifesto promise that GATE, “remains relevant, easily accessible and available to all citizens”. Over the last two years there has been a swift and precipitous reversal of the gains and successes made under the past administration.

The minister of education stands condemned for his failure to completely allay the fears of all potential GATE applicants and must be immediately removed from office.

Dr Tim Gopeesingh
Member of Parliament for Caroni East
Former Minister of Education
Reads: 3558

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