Although secondary school education has officially been “free” since January 2008, pupils have to meet the costs of uniforms, shoes, PTA fees, the costs of hiring locally recruited teachers, school lunches and national exam fees. The total cost of these “extras” for four years’ attendance, starting in January 2011, is estimated at Euro 600 (or about £515 or US$820) – an average of Euro 150 per yr.
From the outset of the school development programme, we agreed with the Got Matar Community that it was terribly important that the school should be open to children from the poorest families, and particularly to orphans.
This led to the creation of a Bursary Committee to select deserving candidates and to administer a bursary scheme. Candidates should have good passes in the Secondary School Entrance Examination, but come from families who would be unable to fund their attendance at the school without some assistance. The Committee also seeks to maintain an equal gender balance in its selection of awardees.
Until now, the Community has been happy to accept the sponsorship by donors of named bursary-funded students. This has led to heavy reporting and accounting demands on the Bursary Committee, and so the decision has been taken to not accept any new individual sponsorship arrangements. Those awardees which have already been sponsored for 4 years will continue to receive their awards annually until they graduate. In future, bursaries will be paid for from the general funds given by donors and will have the first call on these contributions.
The number of awards for new Form 1 bursaries will be decided at the beginning of each year by the GMCDG on the basis of proposals made by the Bursary Committee. The aim will be to ensure full enrolment in the school (150 children per year) and to make sure that at least 40 of the poorest children are able to attend. . In the longer terms, the dependence on donors for financing bursaries will be reduced as income generating enterprises, being set up by the Group, begin to make profits. For 2014, it is expected that the new brick making business will finance 15 Form 1 bursaries.