JIS News

Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, has stated that Jamaican law students at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI), Cave Hill campus, Barbados, will continue to receive grants this year, but the Ministry will revert to original policy starting with the next set of applicants.
The change to original policy will affect applicants with a first degree or who are receiving other Government benefits, who should not qualify for these grants.
“We are going to review and ensure that those students this year benefit from the grant, but we intend to keep to the policy, and we will now give notice to the next set of applicants coming next year that those who already have a first degree will not be able to benefit from the grant”, Mr. Holness told a press conference on Thursday (October 1) at the Ministry in Kingston.
Permanent Secretary, Audrey Sewell, blamed the deficiency on a breakdown in communications between the Ministry and the Students Loan Bureau (SLB).
“The law students studying overseas are usually given a subsidy of US$1,000 per annum. The policy has been that students who have a first degree are usually not given that subsidy. Over the years there apparently has been a breakdown in communication, either the information has not been given fully to students who apply for boarding grants or, because the system was not automated, some fell through,” she said.
“The truth is that it was not a new directive that was recently given. It has been the policy which, unfortunately, has not been administered in its strictest sense. So, we would admit that there was a breakdown in communication between the MOE and the SLB”, she explained.
Mr. Holness told the press conference that students who indicated that they had a first degree, would not be punished in any way due to the miscommunication.
“The policy has always been that students who are already beneficiaries of Government assistance, or they already have a first degree, that they would not qualify. It is clearly stated on the form,” he confirmed.
“They have protested, and we hear their protests and I think they have a reasonable case to make, in seeing that the policy was never implemented in the first place,” he commented.
Mr. Holness said that some of the students have even said that they were advised by the SLB that, even though the policy is that they don’t qualify, that it is usually overlooked.
“So they went ahead in good faith. So, we have decided not to punish those students who have declared honestly that they have a first degree,” he pointed out.
Mr. Holness has also stated that a more detailed look will be made of all the benefits and subsidies given in education, to ensure that they are incentive compatible.

Skip to content