Successful 2021/2022 applicants will be required to sign a bond agreement mandating service
NASSAU, BAHAMAS —The Ministry of Education has announced a one-year moratorium on all new tuition grants for the upcoming academic year.
The moratorium was pinned on a “reduction in resources and other factors”, and commitments to free tuition initiatives at the University of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute.
The ministry also underscored its tuition commitment to current awardees, and the need to support Bahamians who seek admission to independent local tertiary institutions.
It furthered the Scholarships Committee has been hindered in the timely consideration of applications due to COVID-19 delays in the receipt of required documentation from overseas universities.
“One of the greatest impediments impacting the decision to institute a moratorium has been the delay in the sitting of the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations (BGCSE), due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the ministry’s statement read.
“These BGCSE results constitute the basis by which scholarship awards are determined.”
The ministry also noted many families may not be able to secure the balance of funding needed to support their children while overseas due to the economic downturn.
The statement continued: “Additionally, as expressed by the Minister of Education, there is a need for reform of the Scholarship system. It is important that awards are made in accordance with national priorities, and that students return to The Bahamas to repay the Bahamian taxpayers who have borne the cost of their education.”
The decision was confirmed in a statement on Saturday.
“With these matters for consideration, it was determined that a one year moratorium was the best course of action for the Ministry of Education,” the statement read.
“Contractual obligations to existing students will be honored.
“Additionally, current University of the West Indies scholarship recipients are requested to register online with the Scholarship and Educational Loan Division at www.scholarshipsbahamas.com by July 24. Registrations not received by that date will result in the immediate termination of scholarship payments.
It added: “Lastly, all persons interested in applying for scholarships for the 2021/2022 term may also register online, effective 1st December, 2020 to 31st March, 2021. Successful applicants will be required to sign a bond agreement mandating service in The Bahamas upon completion of the stipulated award, whether in the Public or Private sectors.”
Over the weekend, Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis urged the government to reconsider its decision.
“This decision is frustrating young Bahamians,” Davis said in a series of tweets.
“This makes me so angry, particularly when I think about young people who are the first in their families to attend university.”
He continued: “Education is not a cost: it is an investment in all our futures.The myriad of opportunities contained in the Blue, Green and Orange Economies will never happen if the Government choose not to invest in the education of young Bahamians. Education was the key to my success.”
Davis added: “The government appears not to understand a basic truth: education is an investment, not a cost. It is an investment in all our futures, especially that of young Bahamians.”