The Mia Amor Mottley administration has kept a major manifesto promise.
Government will resume payment of tuition fees for Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies (UWI) from September.
The administration has gone one step further: it announced fees will also be paid for students pursuing degrees at the Barbados Community College and Erdiston Teachers’ Training College.
But they will all have to give back to the country in the form of community service.
The announcement was made yesterday in a Ministerial Statement delivered in the House of Assembly by Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw. It was the fulfilment of a pledge to reverse a decision by the previous Democratic Labour Party administration not to pay full tuition fees at the regional university.
Bradshaw said the move was part of the Barbados Labour party government’s plan to have a university graduate and an entrepreneur “in every Barbadian household”.
Outlining the details, she said Government would pay directly to the UWI tuition fees for Barbadian students enrolled in undergraduate courses of study, but would only cover tuition fees for a second undergraduate degree “if the Barbadian student gained Upper Second Class Honours or if the second undergraduate degree will be of significant relevance to national development.”
Tuition fees will also be paid for Barbadians pursuing post graduate studies if they gain at least Upper Second Class Honours in the first degree or if the postgraduate studies will be of significant relevance to national development.
“We will also reach out to Barbadian students who have dropped out and encourage them to resume their tertiary studies,” Bradshaw told the House.
Full-time students forced to repeat a year of the normal three-year course of study due to “unforeseen circumstances” will have that fourth year funded by government, while part-time students in the same situation will also have the additional fifth year covered by Government.
As obtained in the past, Government will pay tuition fees for Barbadian students pursuing the Legal Education Certificate granted by the Council of Legal Education in the Commonwealth Caribbean.
Click here to read the full Ministerial Statement METVT
But Bradshaw stressed Barbadian students must give back.
She said full-time students who benefit from the free tuition would be required to give back 150 hours of approved community service per year, while part time students would be required to give back 100 hours of approved community service per year.
Bradshaw gave the assurance that “any eligible students who may have already paid any portion of their tuition fees will be reimbursed directly” by the Ministry of Education.
She added that savings from the government’s programme of debt-profiling would be used in part to pay the tuition fees. (GC)