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  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the Students’ Loan Bureau’s (SLB) selection process does not exclude any category of students from acquiring loans.
  • The Minister was speaking to JIS News in response to queries about the Bureau’s selection process during the Immaculate Conception High School’s open day at the institution’s campus in St. Andrew today (February 4).
  • Minister Thwaites said the STEM areas are crucial to the continued development of the country and as such, the Government will be putting measures in place to facilitate greater participation in these areas.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the Students’ Loan Bureau’s (SLB) selection process does not exclude any category of students from acquiring loans.

He noted that more students pursuing studies in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM), are encouraged to apply for tertiary loans, in keeping with the national focus on science and technology.

“It is not true that there is any wide scale discrimination against students outside of the STEM arena, but it is also true that we need to encourage students in STEM,” he said.

The Minister was speaking to JIS News in response to queries about the Bureau’s selection process during the Immaculate Conception High School’s open day at the institution’s campus in St. Andrew today (February 4).

Rev. Thwaites informed that 90 per cent of the applicants to the SLB last year were approved.

“It is not true to say that people who have a passion for art, history or architecture are being prejudiced, the figures do not support that,” he said.

“The facts do not support the allegation that we are excluding any discipline from the SLB, the truth is that last year, 50 per cent of all student loans were given to students in business studies, social science and education, STEM was far down the line,” he noted further.

Minister Thwaites said the STEM areas are crucial to the continued development of the country and as such, the Government will be putting measures in place to facilitate greater participation in these areas.

“Whenever any home or any business has to remove scarcities or to establish priorities, you have to make choices and…we will be encouraging students who are going into STEM related courses to make application to the SLB,” he said.

He added that some of the funds that go to the Bureau, particularly grants from the HEART Trust NTA, can only be used for technical and vocational studies.

In the meantime, Minister Thwaites said the Ministry will “take into account how the preferential rates can be considered”.

Also, he lamented that of nearly 40,000 young people, who left grade eleven last year, only 5,000 “took even one science subject”.

The SLB is Jamaica’s premier student loan financing organisation committed to ensuring that qualified, needy Jamaican students have equal access to financial assistance to pursue tertiary education.

 

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