The Youth Arm of the United National Congress has expressed concern and discomfort with recommendations made by a task force appointed by the Rowley – led Cabinet to review the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE).
In a media release issued yesterday the group stated that from various reports the Rowley-led Cabinet was being asked to introduce a means testing scheme, undergraduates to pay one-third of total tuition and a total discontinuance of post graduate funding.
It said that if the Cabinet decided to act on the recommendations it would be tantamount to destroying the future of our nation.
Describing the move as a gigantic leap backwards in our nation’s development the Youth Arm stated that it disentitled thousands of students for a chance at achieving a tertiary level education.
It noted that in 2001, the then UNC Government introduced the “Dollar for Dollar” Education plan which funded 50 percent of the cost of tuition for students.
This was expanded to what is now known as GATE where tertiary education is 100 percent funded by the government.
The release disclosed that in the run-up to the 2015 General Election, the PNM in their manifesto promised the people to “Preserve, maintain, and expand where necessary, our system of free education and training at all levels.”
And also to “Ensure that the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) system, which was created in 2004, remained relevant, easily accessible and available to all citizens who needed it.”
It divulged that any adherence to the recommendations of the task force would be nothing short of a betrayal of the trust of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.