The financially healthy, not the poor, are benefiting from the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE), lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of the West Indies, Dr Roger Hosein has said.
Giving a national budget overview at the Alumni Association & Fundraising and Alumni Affairs post-budget forum at the Learning Resource Centre (LRC), UWI, St Augustine yesterday Hosein said: “I designed GATE and I designed the means testing. By giving lumpsum income of GATE it means a shift in distribution of GATE. It means everybody getting the same amount. Clearly GATE is not benefiting the poorer people, it is benefiting the middle class and upper middle class people,” he said.
Using data from the government’s household budgetary survey 2009 and a pooling of all the students accessing GATE he said:
“So we have designed this strategy that benefits the middle and upper middle class and the number of GATE approved private institutions increased from 31 to 42. And some of them are production mills.
I have taught at some of the best other none-UWI universities in this country and have been told by one principal to set an exam that they could pass. How I could do that, madness?”
Also touching on the issue of GATE, UWI principal Prof Clement Sankat once again raised the question of how much value for money the country was getting from GATE especially in the field of medicine where there is an annual intake of over 200 students yet there are so many foreign doctors being brought in to practise in this country.