Member of Parliament for Tabaquite, Anita Haynes, is calling on the Ministry of Education to reconsider its position on curtailing funding via the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) Programme.
According to a release issued by the MP this afternoon, she argued, “In the midst of a pandemic, the government has chosen to limit its investment in our citizens. Now more than ever, we need to invest in our human development.”
In particular, Haynes is urging the government to revise its decision to cease all funding for post-graduate programmes saying, “Tertiary education has become mandatory for many entry-level positions. In order for our citizens to earn and develop skills to be competitive in an increasingly demanding job market, we must have access to higher education.”
MP Haynes outlined that there is also a need to provide clarification on the provisions for undergraduate programmes which take a different form such as a combination of certificate and diploma courses. Will students who pursue their undergraduate degree via a series of shorter programmes receive continued funding until they attain their full qualification or will only one such course take up the entirety of their undergraduate GATE funding?
“We cannot deny that there is a need to re-structure and streamline the GATE programme. However, we must seek to implement these much-need changes in a manner that does not hurt or hamper our students and young professionals.”
Moreover, MP Haynes noted that the Ministry of Education’s national consultation did not highlight tertiary education as an issue to be addressed specifically. Coupled with this morning’s sudden announcement, Haynes is urging the government to include tertiary education stakeholders in consultations to determine a gradual transition to more sustainable funding.
“This decision has called into question the sincerity of this PNM administration’s commitment to creating better lives for our citizens and a future of hope and opportunities for the generations to come.”