A second-year medical student at UWI, St Augustine will receive a national scholarship more than a year after he graduated from secondary school.
Justice Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell on Wednesday quashed the Education Ministry’s decision to retroactively impose new criteria for awarding national scholarships for CAPE by implementing a 2018 memorandum.
The order was granted after the ministry admitted that former Presentation College, Chaguanas’(PCC) student Idris Segulam would have received an additional scholarship in environmental studies if he had been assessed under the pre-2018 criteria and benchmarks.
The court was also told a draft note had been sent to Cabinet seeking approval for Segulam to be awarded the additional scholarship.
Segulam graduated in 2019 with eight ones and 21 As and three Bs in his profile in both units for biology, chemistry, environmental studies, Caribbean studies, and communication studies.
In his lawsuit, he said he chose the subjects so as to be eligible for a scholarship in two groupings: environmental science and natural science.
Segulam said his subject choices were based on the criteria that applied in 2017, when he entered sixth form, but by circular memorandum No 8 of 2018, the ministry sent new eligibility criteria.
He said he was not aware the new criteria would apply to him since he had selected his subjects before the change.
“It would be wholly unreasonable, irrational, and unfair for the policy to be changed after I had already selected my subjects,” he said. Segulam said when he and several other students at PCC did not get scholarships, although they got all ones, he was told he was only considered under natural sciences but did not meet the requisite benchmark of 22 A profiles.
He said if he had been considered under the pre-2018 environmental science cognate group, he would have met the benchmark of seven grade ones since under the 2018 criteria geography became a compulsory subject. Segulam said after he read about a similar lawsuit involving another PCC student, he realised he too had been wronged and sought legal advice.
The former PCC student was represented by attorneys Anand Ramlogan, SC, Renuka Rambhajan, Che Dindial and Alana Rambarran.