THIS year’s President’s Medal will go to two pupils from Presentation College, Chaguanas and St Joseph’s Convent who topped the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced yesterday.
Persad-Bissessar made the announcement during her address at St James Secondary School, where she distributed laptops to pupils.
The Prime Minister said Abhinav Karan of Presentation College, Chaguanas topped the examinations in mathematics, natural sciences, environmental studies and technological studies.
And Shelbia Peterkin of St Joseph’s Convent led the examinations in business, languages, modern Studies, Technical studies, visual and performing arts and general studies.
The Prime Minister pointed out that traditionally pupils from Government-assisted schools tend to top the examination, but this year 11 Government secondary schools had scholarship winners.
She announced that because the schools are doing so well, the Government will increase the number of scholarships coming out of the CAPE examinations.
Persad-Bissessar noted that in 2009, under the former People’s National Movement (PNM) administration, the number of scholarships awarded was 266.
She said in 2010, when the People’s Partnership entered office, the number increased to 329, then to 354 in 2011, with a further increase to 376 in 2012.
The Prime Minister said in 2013 a total of 428 scholarships will be awarded.
“So when I say education is the key out of poverty, education is the passport to a better life and prosperity, I do not only talk the talk, my Government is walking the walk in providing the resources for you students and teachers of our nation.”
She noted that in the 2013-2014 national budget the biggest slice of the pie—$9 billion—was allocated to education and training.
Persad-Bissessar said the laptop programme—free laptops given to form one pupils entering secondary schools over the past four years—has cost some $270 million and it was an “investment well worth it”.
She said by month end, under the laptop programme which started in 2010, some 68,850 laptops would have been given to pupils and an additional 4,000 to teachers.
The Prime Minister said that by 2015, approximately 90,850 pupils will emerge from secondary schooling equipped with computing and information technology skills.