THE EDITOR: In the 1960s-70s, when high school students wrote the much harder GCE A-Level exams, there were a total of ten national scholarships on offer, two in each of five subject areas. To get one of those you had to be really "bright."
In recent times, with the comparatively low standard of CXC and CAPE exams, the Government has been "wasting" money on hundreds of scholarships to mediocre students. Now they are offering ten in each of ten "cognate groupings" (subject areas, to you and me). Do these politicians ever listen to themselves? That's 100 scholarships. That's still way too many, if you ask me.
Also, many of these "cognate groupings" are cosmetic – students do them because they can't do the "serious" subjects. They won't ever be able to contribute to the national good. So why should I pay for them to go to university?
Sure, people are free to study what they want, but not at my expense. Reducing the number of scholarships does not disadvantage anyone. If anything, it should make students work harder and only those who really deserve it should get one.
"Poor" students should be afforded loan facilities, overseen by banks, not ministry clerks (but guaranteed by the Government), with generous payback terms – but payback nonetheless upon graduation. It's not free money. In other words, no one should be able to claim they couldn't go to university because they were poor. We'll loan you the money but you must pay it back.
In the US, for instance, students have to work odd jobs (waiters, barmen, bouncers, car park attendants) or take out a student loan (which they have to pay back, unlike here where it's not seriously enforced). As the saying goes, when you work hard for something, you appreciate it more.
My only caveat in all this: the more money government has, the more it will "loan" to family, friends and supporters.