A former Presentation College student has won his lawsuit over a move by the Ministry of Education to retroactively modify the criteria for Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) scholarships in 2018.
Delivering an oral judgement at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain on Monday, High Court Judge Nadia Kangaloo upheld the claim brought by Nicholas Sant, as she ruled that the ministry’s decision was unfair, irrational, and unreasonable.
Kangaloo granted an order quashing the retroactive effect of the policy and another compelling the ministry to reconsider Sant for a scholarship using the old policy, within five days.
In his evidence in the case, Sant claimed that his decision to chose to study Environmental Science, Biology, and Chemistry in addition to Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies, was based on fact that he would have been eligible in two scholarship categories-environmental sciences and sciences.
Sant learned of the change, which meant that he could only qualify in the Natural Science category when he questioned why he did not earn a scholarship after attaining seven distinctions and a Grade 11 in Chemistry Unit 2.
Sant also placed seventh in the region in Environmental Science Unit 1.
The change required persons seeking an Environmental Science scholarship to have studied Environmental Science with Geography or Agricultural Sciences instead of Biology or Geography, as under the 2010 criteria.
In her judgement, Kangaloo ruled that Sant had a legitimate expectation that he would have been considered in two categories.
She rejected submissions from the ministry’s lawyers, who claimed that the change was made because of the limit of 400 scholarships annually. Kangaloo ruled that this could not override the rights of a student, who acted in good faith based on the previous criteria when he selected his subjects.
The State was also ordered to pay Sant’s legal costs for bringing the lawsuit.
Sant was represented by Anand Ramlogan, SC, Alvin Pariagsingh, Douglas Bayley, and Che Dindial.
Stefan Jaikaran and Savitri Maharaj represented the State.