$1,000 for top SEA students
By Miranda La Rose Saturday, July 28 2012
Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) students who placed in the top 200 this year and over the past three years will be given $1,000 vouchers from Government for their achievements.
Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh made this announcement yesterday at the Unit Trust Corporation 2012 SEA Scholarship Award Ceremony held at the Central Bank Auditorium, Port-of-Spain.
The initiative, he said, was that of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Government has asked the UTC, he said, to develop the programme, which should see the vouchers given to students by September.
Meanwhile ten children, who secured places at Sixth Form schools at the last sitting of the SEA, received scholarships from the UTC this year.
Executive Director Eutrice Carrington, in a brief overview of the UTC SEA Scholarship programme, said that as a criteria for selection the student had to come from a low income family (below $4,000) or receiving public assistance. The funding is administered through the provision of school books and other school supplies.
The programme started in 1996, and according to Carrington, expanded to tertiary level education with the scholarship set at $2,000 a year per student. To date, 92 SEA students have benefitted from the programme with 52 currently on the programme.
Addressing parents and children benefitting from the UTC SEA scholarship programme, Gopeesingh urged them to “recognise that being poor and less privileged is never an obstacle.”
Speaking from personal experience, he said, that he came from “very poor, humble beginnings, having been born in an ajoupa hut built with mud walls and dirt floors and a thatched roof, and I slept on a rice bag.”
Urging the beneficiaries to use the programme to their advantage and to note that they were blessed to be part of it, Gopeesingh said the UTC were patriots and urged other corporate citizens to follow their example.
Relating his experience to attain higher education, Gopeesingh said he travelled through a lagoon to go to primary school with mud up to his knees, washing away mud before he attended classes. He carried his few books in a flour bag.
There was no free universal secondary education and before the SEA they wrote the College Exhibition and only 400 places were awarded.
Gopeesingh wrote that examination. He recalled that when the results came out he rode his father’s bicycle about three miles to a local shop where the list was posted up. He started to look at the names from the bottom of the list when someone, who was looking at the list from the top, told him that his name was in the 11th place.
“That was my passport to education, and if I did not persevere despite my poverty,” he said, “I perhaps, would not be here today.”
He said he thought it was important to share his story with the children and their parents to show that they too can attain the best once they put their minds to it.