August 30, 2011
Student loan program is safe, says PM

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has reaffirmed that the national student loan program for the economically disadvantaged is safe, despite the divestment of 51 per cent of shares in Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

The Prime Minister made this clear at a press conference yesterday, Monday, August 29, as he outlined a number of areas where the government has financed the education sector ahead of the new school year.

Dr. Gonsalves reminded the media that a special company has been up by the government, to finance the loans for the students who qualify for funding, and that this was presently available.

“We have put $3.5 million in the student loan company. $2 million to finance the students who were in their first year going into their second year, and who are in their second year going into their third year; and $1.5 million for the new students.

All that is in addition to the estimated $6.5 million to the contribution for students at UWI (University of the West Indies); every student at UWI we pay the economic cost for the normal degree program; we pay that.

But not only that… we have put forward more bursaries this year than last year for science students; 20 science bursaries of $20,000 each.

In addition, we have provided 56 $10,000 tuition bursaries for students across all sorts of disciplines tenable at the University of the West Indies.”

The Prime Minister said yesterday, Monday, August 29, $250,000 had been released to go towards the primary school feeding program.

He indicated that another $1 million had been released for the national book loan scheme, and also announced that the newly constructed secondary school at West St. George, which he considered the biggest and the best, is ready to be handed over to the government.

“I want the people to grasp how your government is keeping its focus. Education, poverty reduction; because those things take place through fiscal consolidation and rebalancing, the quest for economic growth and social development which includes human development.”

“Even with the challenges which we have, we have not cut back on education,” the Prime Minister added.