The Trinidad Guardian / As I prepared Sunday lunch for the rest of my family, I couldn’t help but wonder what my youngest daughter, a scholarship student in the UK, was able to afford for her lunch? I wondered how far the money we were able to get to her will stretch? I wondered about the students whose parents were not able to come up with any extra cash this month.
The Easter weekend is coming up. Will she, and the many others affected by their non receipt of funds, be able to have a stress-free holiday?
I have exercised considerable restraint before deciding to write this letter. I was comforted by the responses from the officers at the Ministry of Education that funds will be disbursed “shortly”. The goodly Minister of Education, two weeks ago, said the students will get their money “soon”. Well Sir, soon is not good enough, especially when the last monies received were on December 14, 2017! For the benefit of all readers, students on scholarship have earned this right by virtue of their hard work and sacrifice (including their parents’). They accept places at their chosen universities on the basis of the promise of funding, be it for tuition, room and board, travel etc.
Parents, knowing that nothing in life is free, do the maths and commit to meeting the shortfalls as best they can. What they do not budget for are the wide gaps between these promised payments, the stress their children feel when they constantly receive reminder letters for overdue payments and the added financial burden to now meet their child’s basic needs while waiting on “soon” to come.
Apart from the personal financial discomfort, I wonder how these academic institutions around the world now react to receiving scholarship students from Trinidad and Tobago?
I speak confidently on behalf of parents in a similar position. We are all aware of the country’s financial constraints but surely priority can be given to addressing the needs of our children. They are living on their own, in foreign countries and coping with all the attendant changes. They will be expected to return to T&T and repay the monies spent by way of local employment. Will they be able to defer this service accordingly? I think not.
So Minister of Education, Minister of Finance, Mr Prime Minister, think of these students and the future you have invested in them and release their much needed funds!
Mr Minister, when is ‘soon’?
Con Información de The Trinidad Guardian
Síguenos en Twitter @entornoi