Warning for UWI students
STUDENTS who do not complete their studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in the stipulated time could find themselves cut off from Government support.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler warned that could be the case after more space is created at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) and the Barbados Community College (BCC) to help students meet matriculation requirements for UWI.
Sinckler was delivering the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals 2010 yesterday in the House of Assembly when he touched on the issue of education, regarded as free at all levels in Barbados.
He said during the last five years the cost of providing education at the UWI had risen from $114.7 million in 2004/2005 to $142.8 million in 2009/2010.
“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, said Sinckler, several students were taking longer to complete their studies, some 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.
“Once these developments come on stream our expectation will be that a properly articulated protocol will be developed between the UWI and BCC and SJPP for a two and two system to be implemented that allows students to spend two years at one of these institutions and the final two years at the UWI.
“In keeping with these expected developments it will be the policy of the [ministry] that all students entering the UWI in 2011 should be fully matriculated and hence will complete their undergraduate degrees in three years of full-time study or four years part-time. Students who fail to complete their course of study in the stipulated time will not be eligible for continued Government support except in extenuating circumstances.” (AC)