Response to the decision to discontinue GATE funding to persons over 50

The Equal Opportunity Commission (the Commission) refers to the decision taken by Cabinet to discontinue the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) funding for persons over the age of 50. Though provisions have been made for continuing students (over the age of 50) already enrolled in undergraduate programmes, the Commission is disheartened by this development and is of the view that the position is discriminatory.

Although age is not a status under the Equal Opportunity Act (‘the Act’), it should be noted that under section 27(1) (c) of the Act, the Commission is mandated “to keep under review the working of the Act and any relevant law and, when required or otherwise thinks it necessary, to draw up and submit proposals for amending them.”  To this end, proposals have been submitted to the Office of the Attorney General for the Act to be amended to include age inter alia as a status ground. The Commission trust that the relevant action will be taken to include age as a status ground for protection against discrimination.

The Commission is hopeful that this decision can be revisited and is willing to assist with developing solutions that are non-discriminatory.

The Commission is available to consult on this issue of discrimination and provide public education on the Act.

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