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Opposition still not clear on SLB subject preferences policy

Published:Thursday | February 5, 2015 | 10:16 AM
Kamina Johnson-Smith - File

Opposition spokesperson on education Senator Kamina Johnson Smith says there is still need for clarity in relation to the education ministry’s policy of favouring students pursuing certain subject areas for student loans.



Yesterday, the education minister, Ronald Thwaites sought to clarify the matter stating that the Students Loan Bureau (SLB) only grants loans on a preferential basis when funds are inadequate.



Thwaites said the SLB approved 90 per cent of its loan applications for the current academic year, and there was no need to grant preferential treatment.



However, Senator Johnson Smith says his most recent statements have not addressed the issue and could lead to further confusion.



She says given that the SLB is now accepting loan applications, the Thwaites needs to speak clearly, so that potential students can know their options when they approach the Bureau this year.



Senator Johnson Smith says he needs to unequivocally state whether it is his intention to promote a policy of exclusion or that he is open to new considerations.



She maintains that the government should seek to use incentives rather than exclusion as a strategy to increase the number of students in particular fields.



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