NORTH WEST St Ann Member of Parliament Dr Dayton Campbell wants the State to play a greater role in providing support for vulnerable persons attending tertiary institutions.
"I believe every child living with a disability who matriculates to a university should receive a full scholarship," Campbell said.
The government backbencher, who was opening a debate on a motion he brought to the House of Representatives, called for the Human Resource and Social Development Committee to be mandated to urgently examine the adequacy and affordability of funding tertiary education in Jamaica.
The MP, who underscored the role of the State in ensuring the education of their children, said there are areas in which the State should be asked to do more.
"The Government should be prepared to stand as guarantor for students who have been beneficiaries of PATH (The Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education)," Campbell said.
PATH is a conditional cash transfer programme which is available to the poorest Jamaicans.
LIMITED ACCESS TO SLB
Arguing that many persons are not able to access the Students' Loan Bureau (SLB) facility because they are unable to find persons to be guarantors, Campbell said the Government should stand by their side.
"PATH must be a means to an end, an end where people will be liberated from poverty and move from welfare to well-being and on to wealth creation," Campbell said.
His comments come as the SLB struggles to put funds in place to make loans available for applicants, and in the throes of a wicked economic environment which has seen cash-strapped Jamaica running to the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance.
Notwithstanding the financial challenges, Campbell told legislators that they "cannot allow the fiscal reality to deter our young people, rich or poor, from aiming to empower themselves in such a way that they encounter the very best within themselves".
He also stressed that parents should be encouraged to save for their children's education so as to relieve the burden from the shoulders of the state.
"Every parent should start saving for his or her child's education from birth, I dare say even before birth.
"It is irresponsible, disgraceful and downright careless for parents to bring children into this world and leave their future to either chance of the generosity of the State, or some philanthropist," Campbell said.
"What we do as politicians should be to augment or complement their efforts as opposed to footing the entire bill," the MP said.