December 3, 2010
PM: $500 for CXC, A’Level, GCE students

Awarding EC$500 to each student who is successful in CXC Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, A’level and GCE examinations is much more reasonable and economical than paying the fees for the students to sit their examinations.{{more}}

This was the point communicated by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves during a ceremony to hand over cheques to the successful students on Thursday, November 25, at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College Division of Arts, Science and General Studies.

Gonsalves, referring to the initiative of paying for each student to sit the examination, which has been promised by the New Democratic Party (NDP), should they win the December 13, 2010, elections, and which is the practice in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, stated that it is uneconomical. He stated that it was best to tie in the payment with the performance.

Gonsalves explained that the government of Jamaica has decided to stop paying for students to write subjects, after several problems came to light. According to Gonsalves, the problem is that teachers will sign up students for the examinations, knowing that the students do not intend to write them. The student eventually does not show up to write the examination.

“…Lots of money leaves the country and the exams are not written. We link the payment on performance which is an early lesson for students to learn,” Gonsalves said.

He added that students who are from indigent families and who are unable to pay for the exams are assisted by the government through the Social Welfare Department, which identifies those students who are indigent.

Gonsalves stated that if all the students’ exam fees were to be paid, it will cost over a million dollars.

“Would it not be better that you pay for indigent students…and then tie the payment to your performance,” Gonsalves said, adding that the $500 can be used to buy a new suit to impress possible employers, when students are looking for jobs.

A total of 536 students received cheques with a total value of of $263,000. (OS)