“EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK: Different strokes for BCC?”

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Minister Of Education Santia Bradshaw has to give a public explanation on an issue under her remit.

It seems as if this new administration is favouring students attending the University of the West Indies (UWI) over those at the Barbados Community College (BCC).

This can be the only logical conclusion given Government’s non-payment of fees for students pursuing degree programmes at the BCC, at a time it is re-introducing state payment of fees for all Barbadian students attending the UWI campuses.

Is the ministry and indeed Government by extension stating that, based on this position, the BCC is a lesser institute of learning and the students pursuing its degree programmes are not deserving also of its financial support?

The BCC offers bachelor degrees in fine arts [major in studio art, graphic design], arts [arts and entertainment management, media and journalism], education [physical education, technical/vocational training]; bachelor of science [tourism and hospitality, pharmacy, nursing and clinical laboratory science].

Attorney General Dale Marshall should offer an opinion to the Minister of Education and the technocrats in the ministry on this matter. He needs to state whether Government is standing on solid legal ground and also morally right in being selective in the payment of tuition fees.

Consumer advocate Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt, CARICOM Ambassador David Comissiong and even the Fair Trading Commission should also publicly address this matter.

In the meantime, the BBC’s Students’ Guild, as well as parents and guardians of those at the BCC so affected and offended by Government’s decision, should also consider bringing a class action case against the state for what can only be considered a denial to equal and fundamental rights in accessing funding for education.

Is there a case for review under the Administrative Justice Act? (ES)