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Dr Tim: Govt investment in education paying off
Education Minister Tim Gopeesingh says the government’s heavy investment in education is paying dividends. Speaking at the opening of the District Career and Skills Fair at the Sepp Blatter Hall, Centre of Excellence, Macoya,on Tuesday, Gopeesingh pointed to several factors to back up his claim.
He pointed to the increased numbers of scholarship winners, the Gate (Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses) programme and improved academic performances at SEA (Secondary Entrance Assessment), CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) and Cape (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations).
“It is (through) the prime minister’s vision and passion for education that she has entrusted both ministers (education and tertiary education and skills training) with the largest budget of $9.1 billion this year to spend on education,” Gopeesingh said.
“This is close to 20 per cent of our annual expenditure, and close to six per cent of our GDP and way beyond what most of the developed countries are giving to education. We’re improving academic performances at SEA, CSEC and CAPE,” Gopeesingh said.
The fair, which was the first joint venture between the ministries of education and tertiary education and skills training, catered to students from forms three, five and six. “We’re very satisfied and doing very well with our academic performance at CAPE where 93 per cent of our students get Grades 1 to 5,” he said. “The SEA performance has been lifted but the CSEC performance is woefully inadequate.”
He said 5,000 students out of 17,000, after writing the SEA, do not make it to the CSEC level. Gopeesingh said his ministry’s annual expenditure of close to $55 million on scholarship programmes was reflected in the increasing numbers of winners every year. There were 372 scholarship winners from 21 schools in 2009, 28 schools in 2010, 31 schools in 2011 and 41 schools in 2012.
Tertiary Education minister Karim encouraged the students to take full advantage of the education and training provided by the state to succeed. “The GATE programme will continue and will be expanded. There is absolutely no disenfranchising of any citizen in T&T who wants to pursue a first degree free of charge courtesy the taxpayer and the government,” Karim said.
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