Saturday, December 1, 2012

GATE secure, safe and healthy, Karim assures Parliament

"The GATE program continues to stay open, it is secured, it is safe, it is healthy, it will expand under the People's Partnership Government." 

That statement from Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim summarised the status of the program that's been a political football even before the new government took office with propaganda from the People's National Movement suggesting the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration plans to kill the program.

Karim was commenting on an Opposition motion about the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE). He accused the opposition of creating "mischief, confusion and panic", adding that their motive is "to create confusion in the minds of our parents and students about the future of GATE." 

The motion by MP Patricia McIntosh urged the government to stop any proposed amendment to GATE.

Karim corrected McIntosh, stating that the original Cabinet minute referred to GATE as Government assistance for tuition expenses, and not "tertiary education". 

He then pointed out that contrary to the PNM propaganda, the PP administration has been increasing its contribution to GATE. He said, "The statement that the Government has not consulted with the citizenry in areas of socio-economic priorities as well as the areas of priority study are ludicrous, outlandish, false and deliberately misleading." 

And the minister asked the opposition to explain why it continues to carry on with its misinformation. "Why do you continue to do this? What is your agenda?"

Karim stated that the average cost per student of local tertiary education program financed by GATE increased from $4358 in 2004 to $13,176 in 2011.

He added that the former PNM administration had poorly conceptualised, managed and implemented GATE and said the government plans to introduce e-service architecture by September 2013 and re-engineer GATE "to serve national interest and not individual or personal interest." 

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai