Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis tied in one of his campaign promises – free education for Bahamian students attending the University of The Bahamas (UB) – during his presentation on the 2018/2019 budget debate.
“This major investment in education will help scores of young people to realize their dreams as we build a more equitable society,” said Dr. Minnis.
“While talent is evenly distributed in any population, the opportunity is not. This will provide so many with opportunities to further their education.”
The proposed notion of free education for qualifying UB applicants is set to be rolled out in September 2019, Dr. Minnis revealed.
The prime minister did not reveal what requisites will be needed for persons to qualify for the free education.
He noted that the details will be revealed at a later date.
The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Training Institute (BTVI) will also offer free education, according to Dr. Minnis.
In an effort to ease the burden on Family Island students who study at UB, the government will begin distributing an accommodation allowance, confirmed by the prime minister.
Family Island students will receive $500 monthly toward accommodation.
“UB will maintain a proper housing register to ensure that homes, which students reside, will meet safety and other requirements,” said Dr. Minnis.
“This new register will increase housing opportunities for students.”
Moving forward, the government intends to roll out a 10-year plan to annually employ new graduates within the public sector.
“This is a 10-year plan where we will identify the needs of all our various ministries and ask UB, or other institutions, to identify their top students so that we can hire them and send them off for training,” the prime minister said.
“In 10 years, that would be at least 40 individuals that we can pool from.”
The prime minister also mentioned that The Central Bank of The Bahamas will partner with UB to introduce a master’s program in economics.
Select candidates that successfully complete the program will receive sponsorship, from the government, to study abroad to attain a Ph.D.
The beneficiaries of this initiative will be expected to return home to contribute to national development, the prime minister said.