Minister rejects motion to set up tertiary education fund
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Ruel Reid has rejected a motion moved by Opposition Senator Wensworth Skeffery to create a special fund to allow needy Jamaicans to access financing for tertiary education for their children.
"I would suggest that honourable members of this Senate consider a reduction of the cost of tertiary education as a better alternative than to channel a higher percentage of funds to subsidise students," Reid said while contributing to the debate on the resolution yesterday in the Upper House.
The education minister pointed out that the merger of teachers' colleges and community colleges with the University of the West Indies to deliver undergraduate and postgraduate degrees should help to lower the cost of some programmes.
Improve Students' Loan Bureau
He also recommended that a joint select committee of Parliament be established to discuss and make recommendations on how financing of the Students' Loan Bureau could be improved.
Reid wants the proposed joint select committee to consider ways in which "there can be broadening of access to students' loans for all applicants with improved terms".
The education minister told his colleagues in the Senate that the Government continued to provide support for poor Jamaicans to access tertiary education through JamVat.
He said the programme provides assistance to cover tuition cost for tertiary students who qualify for admission, but are financially challenged.
Reid highlighted a Caribbean Policy Research Institute 2009 study titled 'Funding Tertiary Education', which stated that "the Jamaican system of subsidising university fees indiscriminately results in a situation in which most get more assistance than they need, while those who really need it do not get enough".