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UWI pay plea


Maria Bradshaw

UWI pay plea

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UNIVERSITY?STUDENTS want Government to extend its payment for undergraduates by one more year.
Last week, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced in his Budgetary Proposals that Government would no longer pay for students who had not met the matriculation requirement for the University of the West Indies (UWI).
He also said it would not continue to pay for students who did not complete their undergraduate degrees in four years, except in extenuating circumstances.
While agreeing with the Government’s stance on both issues, president of the Students Guild at UWI, Carl Padmore, and the president of the Students Guild at the Barbados Community College (BCC), Damani Parris, said that realistically it would take a part-time student five years to complete his or her undergraduate programme.
Padmore stated: “It is more practical to aim to be out as a part-time student in five years, given the workload and given the fact that the majority of them are working and studying. Some can be out in four years, but the average is five years.”
He hoped that the “extenuating circumstances” would take this into account. However, he admitted that there were students at the UWI?for seven years or more.
“I am happy that the subsidies have not been cut altogether because education is precious to Barbadians,” Padmore stated, noting that the Guild was willing to have discussions with Government about the fee paying process.
In terms of the increase in bus fares, Padmore acknowledged it would affect some students, especially those who lived off campus.
He explained that the Guild had six buses which shuttled students free of cost to and from Bridgetown, but said it  might have to consider acquiring an additional bus.
Padmore also pointed out that the Guild might see increases of welfare cases to its office, particularly from overseas students, because of the increase in VAT and the bus fare.  
Parris, the president of the BCC Students Guild, told the SUNDAY?SUN?that several students had been contacting the Guild about Government’s cut-off support at the UWI?after four years.
“Students indicated that they are not comfortable about the implementation of the fee payment by Government for only four years. They pointed out that the time spent by a part-time student was usually five years; so they would like this extra year to be taken into consideration. However, they do agree with the Government’s policy and understand its implementation.”
In relation to the increase in bus fare, Parris said that only students under the age of 18 were allowed to ride the bus free.
He admitted that this would present hardships for some students, but he said he hoped the Government would consider implementing a bus service for students between the Lower Green bus terminals and the Fairchild Street bus terminal, since it was becoming a problem for students commuting between the two.

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