Khadijah Ameen MP.

Member of Parliament for St Augustine and Shadow Tertiary Education Minister for the Opposition, Khadijah Ameen, is calling on the Government to review the GATE policy, with a view to rebuilding the national economy.

According to the MP, it is time to take another look at the requirements for young people to be able “to study and train in areas that can help the economy grow, develop and come out of the economic and social downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Stating her commitment and willingness to work with all key stakeholders involved, MP Ameen pledged her support for the development and education of young persons in all fields of endeavour, in an official statement released earlier today.

She cited new research from UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM)Report, which noted:

“Governments in lower and middle-income countries must resist pressures to cut their budget for education because of the difficult fiscal environment. Investment for schools and learners must be maintained and if possible increased. Government must also direct parts of their education budget to the most marginalized regions and schools.”

The shadow tertiary education minister observed:

“It is a known recommendation that whenever a country is in a period of slump and slow economic activity, it is the best time to invest in education. When economic activity picks up, then the new graduates will be able to quickly fill new positions popping up. Additionally, at this time, government should greatly consider investing in education, especially in sectors that can help diversify the economy.”

She further advised the Minister of Education and government that if the GATE policy is reviewed to remove some of its requirements, there would be greater interest for young people and anyone desirous of pursuing studies in needed areas.

“In order to boost the education sector and in turn boost the economy, government should hold consultations with all stakeholders to determine what are areas in need of more investment for studies,” the MP stated.

MP Ameen revealed that over the past year, since becoming the Member of Parliament for St. Augustine, many young persons had reached out to her begging for some form of assistance to get GATE funding—or any form of assistance—to be able to undertake studies.

“In many cases some persons mentioned that even though their incomes were over the limit, they were still unable to afford to pay for their studies due to other financial pressures and commitments being faced at the time,” she noted.