120 additional medical students to benefit from Government subsidy
In addition to the 55 medical students who will benefit from the Government's 80/20 per cent subsidy, 120 additional students who applied to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, will this year benefit from a 50 per cent tuition discount based on a financial needs analysis.
Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid told The Gleaner that this year saw a massive increase in the number of students who did extremely well in the sciences. As such, he noted that an agreement was reached with the UWI to apply a means test to other applicants.
"What we discovered is that the students did extremely well in the CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination) sciences. There were a lot of straight-A profiles. So we have agreed with the UWI to apply another 120 [students]. In fact, they have now moved from 55 to 65 this year by virtue of the number of applicants," he told The Gleaner following the Grace Scholarship Fund ceremony at the UWI headquarters on Saturday.
"We are going to apply a means test to the other worthy applicants. In addition, I've asked them to look at the criteria going forward next year to see if with the first 55 we can also put a means test as a criteria. So it's not just the absolute score that gives you a scholarship," he continued.
Reid said his aim is to ensure that all citizens across the island have equal access to higher-learning opportunities.
"The cost of tertiary education is one that I have to resolve. I have increased funding for both primary and secondary [schools] so that we don't have to harass and force parents who can't afford to pay. The next step is to see how those persons who are poor and qualify from secondary to tertiary can get an opportunity for higher learning," he said
"The State is not there yet. It is a big challenge across the world to give free funding for tertiary studies," said Reid.