BURSARIES NOW TOO LATE FOR OVER 4,000 UWI STUDENTS

After unrelenting pressure from the Opposition Barbados Labour Party and from the UWI student guild representatives, the Government of Barbados has at the eleventh hour announced that $1,800.00 will be granted to some UWI students during this academic year, which is already more than half way completed.

This revelation comes a whole ten months after Minister Ronald Jones first announced the existence of these bursaries and seven months after he said that the funding for 3,000 of them "has already been agreed to". While the BLP welcomes this news, the sad reality is that over 4,000 students have already dropped out of the University of the West Indies this academic year as a direct result of their inability to pay the harsh tuition fees which this Government has misguidedly imposed on them. Cave Hill's student roll is down by more than 40 per cent from what it was in the last academic year. The approval finally of this money comes too late for numerous worthy Barbadians who have left UWI and whose only aim was to be given a reasonable opportunity to obtain a university degree.

This revelation comes a whole ten months after Minister Ronald Jones first announced the existence of these bursaries and seven months after he said that the funding for 3,000 of them “has already been agreed to“. While the BLP welcomes this news, the sad reality is that over 4,000 students have already dropped out of the University of the West Indies this academic year as a direct result of their inability to pay the harsh tuition fees which this Government has misguidedly imposed on them. Cave Hill’s student roll is down by more than 40 per cent from what it was in the last academic year. The approval finally of this money comes too late for numerous worthy Barbadians who have left UWI and whose only aim was to be given a reasonable opportunity to obtain a university degree.

The DLP Government’s spasmodic handling of this whole episode has been a disaster and a fiasco. We in the BLP are convinced that means could have been found whereby the children of poor, unemployed and working class Barbadians could have continued to have their tuition fees fully funded by the Government, just as all of our present political leaders received free education.

EDMUND G. HINKSON Attorney-at-Law St James North - Member of Parliament; Shadow Min. for Education & HR

EDMUND G. HINKSON
Attorney-at-Law
St James North – Member of Parliament;
Shadow Min. for Education & HR

This Government, starting with the Prime Minister, has lost touch with the common cause of our people. Those thousands of students who have already dropped out of the university are surely not those whose parents drive $150,000.00 vehicles, who live in stone houses and who carry their children to Disneyland.

Sadly, the lack of communication from the authorities to the public over the last five months and the failure of accountability to the student body has resulted in qualified Barbadians now being denied, perhaps forever in some cases, the chance to receive or complete a university education.

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