The Government has considered a one-off temporary measure to reduce the TELS entry mark to 250 says the Minister for Economy.
However, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says this does not include the Commerce category, where the cutoff mark will remain at 280 with a quota of 850, due to the oversupply of graduates.
Sayed-Khaiyum says programmes in the Commerce category will still require an entry mark of 300.
“The second wave of the pandemic had a significant impact on the education of students. We completely understand how that has affected their performance in the recent examination.”
Sayed-Khaiyum says the quota for TELS for degree programmes will now be increased from 2,000 to 2,942, with increased attention to areas such as Medicine and Health, Engineering, Science and Technology.
He adds the accelerated Repayment Incentives (ARI) for TELS students was introduced in the 2018/2019 Budget to offer TELS students heavy discounts for the early repayment of loans.
For this initiative, the determination for the repayment period for discount eligibility will exclude 2020, 2021 and 2022.
“A lot of their lost their jobs, some went on part-time work, so again obviously we cannot expect them to continue with their repayments, so 2020, 2021 and 2022 will not be counted as the three years.”
The Ministry also announced that the quota for nursing was set for 100 students for the 2022 new intake, but this may not be sufficient given the fact that many nurses are resigning – either leaving the profession or relocating.
Sayed-Khaiyum says to fill the gaps created by resignations and migration of nurses, the TELS quota for Bachelor of Nursing will be increased to 350.
He also announced in the 2021/22 revised budget that the Government will provide 20 MBBS and five Bachelor of Dental Surgery awards to new students who have completed Year 13 with a mark of 340 in 2021 through the National Toppers Scheme.
Sayed-Khaiyum says those students who are registered on the TSLS Online Portal for 2022 intake can apply or change their programme to qualify.
He adds to accommodate private MBBS students of 2021, the National Toppers Scheme will change to include those who did Year 13 in 2020, had marks of 340 and above, a GPA of 3.0 and above in 2021, and combined parental income of less than $100,000.
In the 2021-2022 National Budget, Government allocated funds for MBBS Students who had privately enrolled and met the criteria for a one-off $10,000 Government Grant.
In February this year, 42 students were selected and can use the grant to clear off the fees for 2021.
Sayed-Khaiyum says the government will now provide full-time scholarships under the National Toppers Scheme effective from Semester One 2022.
He adds this will amend the existing scholarship regulation to include these students who did year 13 in 2020.