Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Crawford renews call for education trust

Published:Monday | August 18, 2014 | 8:00 AM
Minister of state in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and member of parliament for St Andrew East Rural, Damion Crawford, takes keen interest in the work of young Steve Francis during a tour of the Harbour View Primary School in his constituency earlier this year

With the cost of tertiary education increasing annually, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Damion Crawford, has renewed the call for the establishment of a dedicated trust from which Jamaicans can access money to fund their tertiary education.

Addressing a joint Rotary Club meeting of the Kingston East and Port Royal, and Trafalgar New Heights, at the Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa in St Andrew last week, Crawford said the tertiary education trust could be similar to the National Housing Trust, where persons would make contributions and later apply for benefits.

"What it does is to allow for a greater pool of funds that will result in access to lower interest rates and longer terms of payment, therefore the actual payment would be less, making it more affordable for persons to actually live up to their commitments," he said.

Low monthly payment

The state minister noted that research has shown that with a tertiary education trust of about four per cent, the payment per month would be about $7,000, "so I think persons can better afford that than the $40,000 they are currently being asked for at times."

Crawford noted that there may be persons who are sceptical about the proposal, especially individuals who have no interest of furthering their educational pursuits.

However, he said, "I think the country is more important than any single individual and so we have to think collectively to say 'I'm finished with school, but I'm willing to pay, so that I can assist in the improvement of education and a reduction in all the ills that come without education'."

Tertiary education crucial

The state minister said access to tertiary education is crucial to the country's economic development, and the Trust would ensure this.

"Jamaica should accept as its own manifest destiny and its own dream, to have one degree per household, with that one degree serving as the change for people," he said.

Crawford emphasised that there is no place for the uneducated in the future world, adding that machines are replacing people.

"A factory that had the same output in 1980 was using three times the people that it is using now by fancy names called mechanisation and automation, and so as machines replace people, you must realise that there is no place for a hustle," he said.