Online readers furious with Minister Jones
Minister of Education RONALD JONES is under fire by some online readers for saying that consideration was being given to removing the bond that stipulates that those on Barbados Scholarships and National Development Scholarships must return to Barbados to work.
Last week Jones said the bonded stipulation could be seen as unfair, adding: “Up to now we are still bonding persons to return to Barbados to gain of their knowledge, but we believe all citizens must be treated the same way.”
A number of readers disagreed.
Michael Goddard: “This makes no sense. I thought the Scholarships were intended to allow smart Bajan students to study abroad, acquire a university education and return home to work
. . . .If we no longer require the individuals to return to Barbados, we are simply giving them a free education. Good deal for the student but not wise in terms of investment . . . .”
Marc Goodridge: “This makes no sense at all. What is the minister’s logic? Other citizens don’t get bonded because they don’t get their education paid for by the Government.”
Carl Harper: “All students, including Barbados and National Development Scholarship winners and non-Scholarship students pursuing tertiary education, should be bonded to work in Barbados for the equivalent duration of the study period. The bond allows each student to make a developmental contribution to Barbados and ‘repay’ the economic cost associated with their ‘free’ education, after which, students are free to go wherever in the world they choose . . . .”
Amanda L: “I’m a former National Development Scholar (2005) . . . . The goodly minister Jones’ argument for removing the bonding contract, that ‘all citizens must be treated the same way’, is ridiculous on the face of it. So [do] all citizens receive anything from $60 000 to $500 000 of free money to go and study?
No. If you are a Scholar and receiving this really huge commitment from Barbadian taxpayers so you can attend some of the best universities in the world, you are not being treated the same way as everyone else . . . . If you don’t want to be bonded, go and get a loan from the bank to go study . . . .”
Kathryn Daniel: “I have no problem with National Development Scholarship and Exhibition winners being bonded to either return home or repay the tax dollars that paid for their ‘free’ education, or otherwise find some way to contribute to national development . . . . All students who benefit from our tax dollars should be made to repay the country in some form or fashion. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”
Sandrea Butcher: “I agree with the Minister of Education. These students need not be bonded . . . . On graduation these students have to either pursue higher qualifications or gain experience in the workplace . . . . The Scholarship does not cover all expenses at international universities either. Many of the parents of these students will have to provide additional funds for accommodation, meals and health care . . . .”
• Carol Martindale is the Nation’s Online Editor; firstname.lastname@example.org