The six-month old New National Party (NNP) administration of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell will not adhere to the CXC Refund programme that was implemented by its predecessor, the Congress government of Tillman Thomas.
Congress had implemented the CXC refund programme during its four years in office geared at motivating students to meet their full potential and to reward success.
Secondary School students who obtained eight of more CXC subjects were promised full refund of fees paid to sit the exams.
During a sitting of Parliament last year, former Education Minister, Franka Bernadine disclosed that Government had budgeted $149,000.00 for the refund of students’ fees but more students than anticipated passed more than eight subjects.
She also said that although not all students had received their refunds, the monies were being processed for 19 secondary schools on the island.
The then Education minister pointed out that $169,000.00 was paid out in refund to successful students in 2011.
However during the weekly post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, new Education Minister Anthony Boatswain informed the media “that (the programme) was a policy of the previous government (NDC) that was never adhered to and we have not made that commitment”.
“We have not made any commitment to refund students who passed eight subjects,” Boatswain told local reporters.
In a clear and precise statement, Minister Boatswain pointed out that as far as his administration is concerned they did not implement the programme because the Tillman Thomas Government never adhered it (the policy to repay the students).
“…It was not (implemented), it was something said and never adhered to, so we not going (to adhere to it), we not following that there, making promises that we can’t fulfill,” he said.
When asked about the students who would have achieved the required passes this school year and was promised their refund under the Congress government, Minister Boatswain said, “I do not know, I would have to go back to Cabinet for determination of that one”.
The Education Minister announced that the Keith Mitchell government is now prepared to live up to its commitments to five of the Island’s top Scholars.
Boatswain acknowledged that Government has had problems in meeting its commitment to the five island scholars of $65, 000,00 each per year under the scholarship agreement.
“That was not paid for some time, it created some serious problems and we have agreed as a Cabinet that those island scholars who are attending the University of the West Indies (UWI), we would put them on what you call the Economic Cost List, which is 80% of their tuition that would be covered under the Economic Cost and therefore government will meet the additional 20% tuition,” Boatswain explained.
The senior government minister felt that this arrangement could ease the burden of the island scholars.
In addition, he said that Cabinet agreed to pay $2 million to UWI in outstanding fees to the institution to enable students to continue their education for the 2013-14 academic school year.