St. Kitts – Nevis Government Foots EC$6.2 Million Bill For Students

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“We Have To Spend To Train Our Students…”

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 06, 2009 (CUOPM)

The government is paying the University of the West Indies (UWI) over EC$6.2 million to nationals pursuing degree courses at its three campuses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and its Open Campus in Basseterre.

“During the Cabinet Meeting on Monday, I looked at the recommendations from the Human Resource Management Department and the figure is staggering that we have to spend to train our students at the University of the West Indies, just by paying the economic costs,” said St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, in response to a caller to his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”

Officials in the Department of Human Resource disclosed to the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM) on Friday that the government pays the economic cost – which is 80 percent of the tuition of each student ““ totaling Six million 260 thousand five hundred and eight-five dollars. The remaining 20 percent is paid by the students.

The figure does not include the cost of tuition for the State Scholar, the TVET Scholar, the stipend paid to students studying at Cuban universities and the financial contribution to Mid-Western and Cameron universities in the United States.

“It is expensive, but it is part of our responsibility to train our young people. We have to ensure that we give them the opportunity to train themselves so that they are adequately prepared to take over the leadership of this country across the entire society. It is an investment that is critically important. It is very expensive but as the Minister responsible for the Human Resource Department, my Government just could not refuse anyone. We just had to let all of them get the opportunity to go off to college or university,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

The EC$6.2 million is for students from St. Kitts as the Nevis Island Administration has responsibility of paying the economic cost for students who are coming from Nevis.

“In the past, the Federal government had stepped in to pay the economic cost when there was a problem and so in the past we have paid it, but the practice based on the policy that we have arrived at between the Federal Government and the NIA is that the students of Nevis would be taken care of by the Nevis Island Administration,” said Dr. Douglas.

Earlier this year Prime Minister Douglas gave a commitment that the government is determined that each student who wants to go off to a college or university must have be able to do so.

“The government believes in using the resources of the country to empower our people to raise themselves out of poverty by getting the necessary education and preparing themselves to build this society into a first-class country,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Figures provided by the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis indicate that 78 student loans totalling EC$4,892,310 were approved during the first six months of this year.

Between July 1995 to December 2008, the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, has financed loans amounting to EC$84 million to 1,767 students to study at colleges and universities, compared to 171 students who received loans totalling EC$900,000 during the 15 year tenure of the former People’s Action Movement (PAM) Administration of the Prime Minister the Right Hon. Sir Kennedy Simmonds.

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