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The Ministry of Education on Tuesday began payment of EC$500 to each student who obtained 5 CSEC passes or more, including English language and mathematics, or 2 GCE A’Levels or CAPE passes plus communication studies/ Caribbean studies or GCE general paper in the 2013 external examinations.

Payments were made following a small ceremony at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, Villa Campus, where Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves delivered remarks.

In 2013, 606 students met the established criteria, a 15 percent increase over the 2012 number of 527.

The number of CSEC awardees in 2013 is 337, a 12.3 percent increase over the 2012 number of 300.

The number of CAPE/ GCE A-Level awardees in 2013 is 269,  an 18.5 percent increase over the 2012 number of 227.

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The Ministry of Education said students are expected to use the award to defray costs related to their attendance at post-secondary educational institutions, payment for subjects for which they have registered under the CAPE/ GCE A-Level external examinations and preparation for entry into the workforce.