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Finish up or pay up

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Finish up or pay up

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Students of the University of the West Indies who do not complete their studies in the stipulated time could find themselves cut off from Government support.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler warned that could be case after more space is created at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and the Barbados Community College to help students meet matriculation needs for the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Sinckler was delivering the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals 2010 today in the House of Assembly when he touched on the issue of education, regarded as free at all levels.
He said during the last five years the cost of providing education at the UWI had risen from $114.7m in 2004/2005 to $142.8 million in 2009/2010. 
“However, it must be emphasised that measures to ensure improved efficiencies in the management of the financial resources allocated to the UWI must be maintained.  Over the past few years it has been found that an unacceptable number of students are entering the UWI without fully matriculating,” he said.
As a result several, Sinckler said, students were taking longer to complete their course of study, some spending an extra two years.
“Part of this problem has stemmed from the unavailability of spaces at the Barbados Community College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. The end result has been an increase in the overall cost to government since on average it is less costly to educate a student at these two institutions than it is for the UWI.
As a result in consultation with the Ministry of Education it has been decided that additional resources will have to be provided to the BCC and the SJPP over the next two years to assist them in building out capacity so as to offer more spaces to willing and qualified young Barbadians. This process will start with the preparation of the empty building which BCC recently acquired from Cable Wireless at Howells Cross Road.