27 September 2002


The Board of NALIS Satisfied that Scholarships were Awarded Solely on Merit and Interview Performance

On September 25, 2002, the Trinidad Guardian published an article by Mr. Sat Maharaj, Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, which made allegations of ethnic bias in the recent award of National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) scholarships for post-graduate training in librarianship. The article concluded that ‘we strongly believe that the NALIS is being established to employ and promote a particular ethnic agenda’.

The NALIS Board has carefully investigated the procedures followed by NALIS in selecting persons for these scholarships, in November 2001 and April 2002 (when no Board was in existence).

Following newspaper and website advertisements inviting applications, the Scholarship Interview Panel was constituted. Representatives were invited from: the CPO; the PSA; the DPA; the UWI Library; the NTA; NALIS - the Executive Director; and an IT specialist who had sat on the first NALIS Board was also invited. The final panel included one representative each of the Ministry of Human Development, Youth and Culture; UWI; CPO; DPA; and NALIS.

The selection criteria and weightings to be assigned to those criteria, and to interview performance, were carefully laid out before the interviews, and were similar to those used by the Scholarship Selection Committee of the ministry of Public Administration and Information.

Interviews were held in November 2001, and again in April 2002 following re-advertisement in February-March 2002.

Scores assigned by each panel member for each candidate, according to the agreed criteria and weightings, were recorded and totaled, and the average calculated and ranked in descending order. Scholarships were then awarded (offered) on the basis of these scores.

Thirty scholarships were awarded to persons receiving the highest scores as a result of this process.

The Board of NALIS is satisfied that these scholarships were awarded solely on merit and interview performance based on transparent criteria, and that ethnicity played no role in the selection process.

Professor Bridget Brereton
Chairman, NALIS Board