Underscoring cost as a major factor, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has said government will not be funding any more scholarships for local special needs students to attend the Vanguard School in the United States.
Vanguard is a boarding institution for students with learning disabilities.
Making the announcement during a recent sitting of the House of Assembly, Dr Wheatley said: “From the accounts of the parents, this has been an excellent experience for those young people. However, it is an expensive undertaking, costing the government $44,000 per student annually. We currently have six students in the programme, which amounts to $264,000 per year. Over a four-year term, this amounts to $1.56 million for six students.”
“Therefore, I am not adding any new students to the Vanguard programme. Rather, I will invest money in a local solution which will benefit a greater number of students,” the minister added.
Dr Wheatley said the Andrew Fahie administration will prioritize scholarship funds towards persons in the territory who want to study special education.
The Education Minister, however, noted that local students who are currently studying at Vanguard will be allowed to continue until their graduation.
He further said he intends to take a trip to the school to learn, ‘as much as possible’, how the territory might better serve its special needs students.
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