10 June, 2007


Are Anguilla’s Children Given Sufficient Information about Scholarship Opportunities? One of my readers of the Blog is always writing me letters complaining about the Education Department's failure to make use of what she describes as free UK education that is now available to our students who need scholarships. She blames the Minister of Education in particular for not ensuring the children get all the available information. She recently wrote:

Please note press release in last week's "Anguillian," page 18, in which Chief Minister Osborne Fleming reports on his attending the Overseas Territories Consultative Council. The dates of this meeting were 21 and 22 November 2006.

Mr. Fleming claims that the tuition issue was raised during the meeting and Lord Triesman promised to consider the matter. The CM's press release leads us to believe that now, seven months later, Lord Triesman has agreed to this proposal. These statements are at variance with the truth.

Having studied yourself in England I need not tell you how important this initiative is, not only to Anguillian students but for the social development of our island that our leaders are always reminding us of with their annoying platitudes.

If we had a Minister Responsible for Education who didn't think he was Minister of Sports, whose obligations to his family in America is greater than those to the people such as myself who stupidly voted for him, he would have been on the radio and in the newspaper seven months ago encouraging Anguillians, especially those overseas, to take advantage of this very important initiative. Mr. Fleming states he will keep the public informed about this matter. Why does he have a Minister for Education and what is this person's function?

The truth about this matter is revealed in the official press release issued by HMG on the first day of the meeting Mr. Fleming attended in November. A considerable amount of additional detail has since been made available, including how to qualify for interest-free loans for all college expenses. While widely available in other OTs, this information is a State Secret in Anguilla.

Our Education Minister has failed us, and our Chief Minister is lying about this vital tuition matter.

Not sure what to make of this, I sent her back the following enquiry:

I'm lost. What makes you think that the education officials have not been assisting hundreds of students to take up the offer? What does a mere politician such as the Minister have to do with the administrative procedures of scholarships? Surely, students do not deal with politicians such as Evans McNeil Rogers. They deal with Rhonda Connor and the Education Department.

I am lost as to what exactly you think has gone wrong. Is there any evidence that Anguillian students have missed out on this initiative?

She responded as follows:

I don't know what education officials have been doing about this initiative with ALHCS students. Things are generally a mess there, but I have no information on this point.

I'm sure they have made no effort to reach former students who have graduated and wish they could afford to go to college. The obvious way to reach them and their families is through the media. If we search anguillian.com for the word "tuition" we get only one hit, having to do with the tennis academy.

I'm even more sure they have made no effort to reach the many young people who are living and working in the UK (I understand there were quite a number of them) to establish their three year residence in order to qualify for UK domestic tuition rates. One of the primary purposes of having "The Anguillian" online is so that it can be read by overseas Anguillians, and I understand that a lot of them read it weekly to keep up with the news from home.

It would surprise me greatly if any young Anguillians struggling away in the USVI or freezing on the East Coast were aware of this initiative. The incremental cost of sending an announcement to "The Anguillian" is zero.

You ask what politicians have to do with administrative procedures of scholarships. In our corrupt society, it’s them that approve them. It's more economically efficient to use public funds to pay for scholarships than private, brown bag cash to pay for refrigerators.

Anyway, there are no scholarships involved here. I discovered that all UK college students are automatically entitled to free college expense loans.

Still not clear what the Education Department had been doing to help our children with overseas scholarships and further education, I decided to send this correspondence to the Chief Education Officer, Rhonda Connor. She responded with the following clarification:

Education/training for students at college and/or university level is not handled by the Department of Education; but rather the Department of Public Administration. They process all Government funding for student scholarships.

I am aware that Department of Public Administration encourages students to study in the UK. Please note also that the information regarding reduced tuition for Anguillian students was forwarded to the secondary school by the Department of Education and students were informed. In fact a number of students (who have left school recently) are presently taking advantage of the reduced tuition cost in British Universities.

I assume that the person is referring to this reduction in tuition cost, as I am not aware of any form of free education for Anguillian students.

This correspondence raises important issues. Have your children who have finished High School been given adequate information about scholarships in the UK that are available to them? Is it correct that for several months after the UK announced that scholarships were available for Anguillian children after only one year's residence instead of the previous three years, no one in government bothered to make an announcement?

What is clear is that tertiary education in the UK is not free to Anguillian students. It is only that it is now cheaper. I understand that it means that annual tuition fees have fallen from ₤12,000.00 to ₤3,000.00 for certain courses. But, that is a significant factor.

It is also now clear that neither the Minister of Education nor the Education Department has anything to do with scholarships for Anguillian children. That is all handled by the Public Administration Department. So, it was not fair to have blamed the Minister for the delay in publicizing the subsidized further education available to Anguillian students.

The correspondence does raise one curious question. The principal responsibility of the Public Administration Department in Anguilla is to hire and fire civil servants. What ever made anyone think that tertiary education for Anguillian students should be handled by the Public Administration Department, instead of by the Education Department? Why would anyone have put further education in the hands of Public Administration in the first place? Was it because originally, years ago when scholarships started being given by government, we were mainly trying to educate a cadre of civil servants? That target has long been achieved. Do we not now want to educate Anguillians to take over the commanding heights of the private sector? Do we not need scholarships for hundreds of technically trained persons who are needed in construction, tourism and financial services? Are not these in desperately short supply in the private sector?

What do you think? If you have an answer, please follow the instructions below.


  1. In November, the Chief Minister of Montserrat announced that not only had tuition been drastically reduced, there were loans available from HMG to cover the cost of reduced tuition:

    "Students from Montserrat and other British Overseas Territories will also be able to borrow three thousand pounds tuition fee from the UK government to enroll in courses, and will not have to pay back the money up front, or until after graduation when their earnings reach a level equivalent to fifteen thousand pounds a year."

    Not only that, these same OT students could apply for grants:

    Thus at the time in question, there was free tuition available for Anguillian students.

    Unfortunately, when students from Montserrat and St. Helena started applying for the grants and loans, The Foreign Office changed the rules. This was reported in St. Helena:

    "The Foreign Office has cancelled tuition fee loans for students in the Overseas Territories because salary deduction repayment isn't feasible for them once an OT student has returned home."

    Our CM claims Lord Triesman promised in November to consider reduced tuition. In fact, Triesman announced at this November meeting that the tuition had been reduced! Our CM, who is a busy and important person, couldn't be bothered to tell us about it until 7 months later, and then implied that it had just happened, and further that it had happened as a result of their November discussions.

    Which is better: to be lied to, or to have everything be a State Secret?

  2. It is not a matter of scholarships, or of the Public Administration Department. It has to do with the cost of education in the UK. Foreign students pay the “economic rate” and UK students pay the “home status” rate. Anguillians now qualify for education in the UK at the same rate as UK students, after a one year residence qualification. We do not have to pay the “economic rate” for our children to study in the UK. We pay “home status” fees. That is a difference between ₤12,000 and ₤3,000, or paying one quarter the economic cost. Once an Anguillian family have relatives in the UK, it is just a matter of finding pocket money to send that child on for further education. Every Anguillian should be able to benefit. It is not a matter for the Public Administration. That is a matter that Rhonda Connor and the Education Department should be publicizing.

  3. I live overseas and was fully aware of this change for the OTs. I am so tired of people blaming politicians for everything that professional deapartment head should be doing.

    I suppose some of us have been spoil over the years becasue the politicians use to meddle in admin affairs. People need to stop expecting the politicians to solve the day to day occurings in the various offices. I have to wonder if the author has a personal vendetta with the Minister of Education.

    If you want to run for elcetd office, you do not have to put all the problems on the Edcuation system on the minister. Let politicians decide the policy and let those who are getting the big checks to function in their office or go home.

  4. Below is the original announcement. Notice that the date is also the starting date of the UKOT Consultative Council meeting at which the CM says he “inquired” about reducing the tuition.

    This statement, from Note 2 below, may be incorrect:

    "Because some of the overseas territories of EU countries are themselves in the EU, students from there qualify for the home fee rates, but students from Britain's Overseas Territories are treated as international students and are charged higher fees."

    What OTs of EU countries are they talking about? Gibraltar is the only one I know of. (Gibraltar's position is arguable and complex, but they are a part of the European Economic Area, which qualifies their students as "home students" in the UK.) Greenland left the EU in 1985. I know of no other OTs of EU countries that are "in the EU." Places such as St. Martin are "in the EU" but they are not OTs - they're part of France.

    It is true that St. Martin students, being already EU residents, have the right to go to university in the UK, with no UK residency requirement and at the home student tuition rate. It was unfair that they had this right and our students did not.

    It gets worse. It says below that our students will "be treated as home students for fee purposes at institutions in England. "England”? A UK Minister is making regulations for a selected part of the UK?

    I don't see anything about a one-year residency requirement for anyone, either home or international. The announcement was made in November, to become effective in September. Maybe this is where the one year comes in. I don't think the one year requirement is correct.

    Notice that Gibraltar is not included in the list of OTs in which this change applies, as it doesn't represent a change for Gibraltar.

    British Overseas Territories students to benefit from change to students fees
    London, 21 November 2006

    News Release (2006/0165) issued by The Government News Network on 21 November 2006

    Higher Education Minister, Bill Rammell was today delighted to announce proposals to enable students from the British Overseas Territories to be treated as home students for fee purposes at institutions in England. Bill Rammell and Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman have worked hard on behalf of the Overseas territories to bring this change to fruition. DFID Minister, Gareth Thomas welcomed this announcement.

    The proposal means that from 2007/08, students from specified territories will be charged the home fee rate for their Further Education and undergraduate degree courses at colleges and universities in England.

    Bill Rammell said:
    "This is a long awaited change for the Overseas Territories, which do not have their own higher education provision. It is a move that will help them to improve their self sufficiency."

    Lord Triesman added:
    "This change will have long-term benefits in terms of self-sufficiency of the Overseas Territories and it fits well with the commitments we gave in the 1999 White Paper on the Overseas Territories."

    Gareth Thomas said:
    "This is a significant decision for the future of Overseas Territories. It will help increase the educational options for students from Britain's remaining overseas territories, and in turn help to boost the long term prosperity of the Territories."

    The change will be implemented through amendments to the Education (Fees and Awards) and the Education (Qualifying Courses and Persons) Regulations and implemented in time for the 2007/08 academic year.


    1. The UK has an obligation under the United Nations Charter to promote the well-being of the inhabitants of its Overseas Territories and we are committed under the White paper "partnership for Progress and Prosperity - Britain and the Overseas Territories" to ensuring their social and economic development.

    2. Ministers in DfES received representations from the British Overseas Territories through the FCO and the DfID about the fees charged to their residents whilst studying in the UK. Because some of the overseas territories of EU countries are themselves in the EU, students from there qualify for the home fee rates, but students from Britain's Overseas Territories are treated as international students and are charged higher fees. Gibraltar is the only British Overseas Territory whose students currently qualify for the home fee rates. This proposed change will mean that students in the overseas territories of EU Member States will be treated equally.

    3. This change reflects the close and long-standing links between the Overseas Territories and the UK. It also reflects the changed citizenship status of the territories. Under the 2002 British Overseas Territories Act British citizenship was extended to all people in the British Overseas Territories who qualified for it on the basis that they were British Overseas Territories citizens (BOTCs) from particular territories. In practice not all, but the majority of British Overseas Territories Citizens automatically became British Citizens on 21 May 2002 when the Act came into force. The exception was those deriving their BOTC status from the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus. Children born after 21 May 2002 to those British Overseas Territories citizens that became British citizens become British citizens themselves.

    4. The specified territories to which the change will apply are

    British Overseas Territories

    British Antarctic Territory
    British Indian Ocean Territory
    British Virgin Islands
    Cayman Islands
    Falkland Islands
    Pitcairn Islands
    South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands
    St Helena & its Dependencies
    Turks & Caicos Islands

    Overseas territories of other EU member states:

    Greenland & Faeroe Isles (Denmark)
    Netherlands Antilles:- (Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St Eustatius and St Marten) and Aruba (Netherlands)
    French possessions:- New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte, St Pierre et Miquelon, French Southern and Antarctic Territories

    PRESS ENQUIRIES: 020 7925 6789
    PUBLIC ENQUIRIES: 0870 000 2288 info@dfes.gsi.gov.uk
    NEWSDESK: 020 7925 6789 newsdesk@dfes.gsi.gov.uk
    OUT OF HOURS MEDIA CALLS: 07659 105 993
    INTERNET ADDRESS : http://www.dfes.gov.uk
    Department for Education and Skills

  5. A simplified guide to home rates in 11 easy to understand pages of fine print: http://tinyurl.com/ypy6sl

  6. I agree that some politicians gets blame for things that they are not responsible for, but the blame should really be on some department heads,the truth is that a lot of them are just heads with no body, only want to know that they have a position, but the rest is left to be desired. In Anguilla a lot of people want to know they hold a position, but their department is a far away reach from production. Does that matter to those heads no, their salary continues and so they do not care.

  7. As I read one of the comments, I am aware that their are some people who like to be in every organization, or committee, just to be there, they do not function but they like to be in things.

  8. I make it a daily routine to check out this blog, God bless Mr Mitchell, there is no other infomation coming forward like this, the Anguillian newspaper is such a bias paper that I do not read it, or I selectively read it when Mr Petty writes something, because only then can you read something objectively. The editor of the newspaper should reliaze that we are a younger age and we ask questions,not take everything hook and line. Sometimes one get so ashame of the way intelligent people behave and wonders why. Write the truth and stop showing biasness in any paper. The day another newspaper comes on stream, that would be it. That is the government paper do you think that I would be able to get a license?

  9. Honestly, I have seen some very young people fresh out of college with great management skills. But in AXA they will have to wait until someone retires before they are even looked at.

    Supervisors and Heads Of Departments need to get their act together. I firmly believe management jobs should be on contract for five years and people should have to apply and compete to renew their jobs. We can do better and deserve better.

  10. great debate of punches.


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