Scholarships now approved, Rivers reveals

| 13/08/2013

(CNS): In the face of major concerns across the community about the delay in scholarship approvals for the forthcoming term, the education minister revealed that the process has now been completed. Tara Rivers told the PPM National Council Meeting that the delay was as a result of the election and the budget. She confirmed that Cabinet had now approved all applications for scholarships where students have met the criteria. She also said the education council would be honouring commitments made to students who received scholarships via the controversial Nation Building Fund but there were a “number of irregularities” regarding those that would need addressing in future.

Rivers put the election challenge to her eligibility behind her, after an extremely favourable result for her political future from the chief justice on Friday, when she joined the PPM National Council Meeting on Saturday evening to deliver an update on her ministry. The new education minister said that while she remained an independent candidate, she was part of one government.

Turning to the affairs of her ministry, which she can expect to be at the centre of public attention given the levels of unemployment and continuing education challenges, Rivers said that there were concerns about the nation building scholarship, which had been transferred to the ministry.

“It has been an interesting process in trying to find out what was going on and we found some irregularities in how these scholarships were being administered and the money disbursed,” she said, adding that policies were now being developed to regularize these scholarships and create a fair, level playing field and to eliminate the abuses that existed previously.

She said the process has taken some time but the ministry was at the point where they could say whether these students do meet the criteria or not and were developing what might have to be a transition year for some of these students. With the commitments made previously, she said, the ministry’s hands were tied for this year but there would be changes.

Rivers promised a more detailed update on the future of these scholarships, which it is understood have been given to students who failed to meet the Education Council criteria.

Talking generally about education policy, she said she would not be throwing out her predecessor’s National Strategic Plan just because her name was not attached to it. Rivers stated that she planned to strengthen and developed the plan in line with the PPM manifesto and the independents’ national plan, which the C4C had insisted was not a manifesto.

However, Rivers said she recognised that employment was her number one issue and she made a commitment that the employment of Caymanians would be front and centre of the ministry’s work. She said the wheels were in motion for a broader policy to guide the future of employment issues. The minister said she had opened dialogue with employers about taking on local workers and with immigration so that the department could begin to look at the permits being issued to see which jobs could be held by Caymanians instead.

Recognising the need for work-permits where there were skill shortages, she said the system could “not disenfranchise our own” and said, “We want to achieve balance.” 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Minister Rivers. We know that you, along with Winston, will work to put Caymanians back to work and to protect us from the madness that exists in today's employment world.. Try to also look at government employees and see how many positions are filled by foreigners that could easily be held by Caymanians! Trust me, there are many! The Deputy Governor should be made to answer for that. Many times the answer that his civil servants cannot find Caymanians is a lie.

    • Anonymous says:

      When Ms Rivers and Mr Connolly get down to examining all these brilliant unemployed Caymanians that people on CNS constantly go on about, they will learn the truth about them, their qualifications and suitability for employment and will realise there is nothing they can do about it. Then writers like you will turn on them with a fury and call for a change in government. I give it a year and then the criticism will start.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Imagine some students are being locked out of their Student portals, because of this delay.  Then they expects the students to make all "A's"  This is much too much stress for the students. So many parents had to go get student loans or add the loan on to their mortgages just so their children could stay in the schools.  I hope some other Companies will come up with a scholarship plan, as the Government is not doing justice to the Caymanian children.  Look now and see which children get these scholarships first, the very same ones that do not have a need.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well guess like all the rest of us simple folk, looks like the Minister was distracted and obviously did not prioritise too well or perhaps, she knows better to not sign documents before legal issues resolved.

    Shouldn't she have made scholarships priority vs visiting schools for the photos, easily taken at start of this term? Just saying, 

  4. Anonymous says:

    is this only overseas scholarships?? i know of MANY honor students who have yet to hear back in regars to their local scholarship application…..

  5. Anonymous says:

    It's about time they were approved. 

    There are overseas students who have current scholarships that have had to 'borrow' the funds to cover their tuition as it was due from the beginning of August.

    • Cayman Mama says:

      They should have to borrow the funds.  That is the way most students around the world pay for their higher education, not through free handouts from government.  The standards for these scholarships has been fairly low, and many of the recipients have families who can well afford to pay for their education. Why should the tax paying people be left payIng these bills?


      • Anonymous says:

        The standards for the Educational scholarships are not low.  THose have been changed.  Our children work very hard to keep up their grades and should be commended as such.  We are not the only country in the world that gives grants.  Everyone in the Cayman islands pay taxes as far as I know so it is the money of the families as well that is paying the scholarships.  I have no problem with it as long as they keep their grades up.

      • Anonymous says:

        you sound disgruntle . Its either you did not get a scholarship due to not qualifying or you are an upset expat who hates that his permitt fees are being used to educate locals.  Either way, this "free" hand out means you have to commit to working damn hard to keep it. Something you might lack, hense your comment

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually, this free hand out was handed out freely in the past to many who did not work hard, who did not qualify, and who did not keep up their marks.  Furthermore, learn how to spell/write; it's not "disgruntle" but "disgruntled"; it's not "hense" but "hence", etc.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yeah unah wait for her to do anything!!

    • Bayah says:

      What the incoming minister needs to do is weed out all the "scholarships" that were granted on the basis of political expediency and to unqualified recipients.  With personal knowledge of several of these "gifts" to students who had very poor educational performance and who continue to do poorly or barely scrape by in their "studies" it is past time to stop this disgusting corrupt practice.  One of these families could pay for the university fees out of pocket change, yet the 'student' is getting a full free ride at the taxpayer's expense.

      The gravy train is over, and only those who have earned the PRIVILEGE (not a right) by exhibiting educational excellence and who may require some assitance should receive it.  If the economic need cannot be demonstrated, then the grants should not be made, or should at least be low interest LOANS instead.

      The public purse owes NOTHING to any of these people.  Education is important but is no guarantee of employment, as many have found out.  If the proper work ethic and respect for authority is not instilled in the process, education is useless.  Attitude and dedication is far more important than that piece of fancy paper in the final analysis.

      • Anonymous says:

        Very well said.  I am sure the majority of right thinking citizens agree with you.

  7. Hoping for better days says: