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Bajans to pay tuition fees at UWI from 2014

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Bajans to pay tuition fees at UWI from 2014

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From next year, Barbadians pursuing studies at the campuses of the University of the West Indies will be required to pay tuition fees, while Government continues to foot the economic costs.
This was one of the measures in today’s Budget presented by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler who said this policy would reduce the transfer to UWI by an estimated $42 million a year.
He said: “According to the most recent scale of fees, tuition fees for students in the Faculties of Humanities and Education, Social Sciences and Science & Technology tuition fees are $5 625 for a full time student (half for part-time and economic cost is $28 125.  For the Faculty of Law tuition fees are $8,808 and economic cost $44,040, while for the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Clinical tuition fees are $16,618 and economic cost $83,090, and for Medical Sciences – Pre-Clinical tuition fees are $65 000”.
Sinckler said Government recognized that access to education at all levels was a key factor in the success of Barbados as a society and an economy.
“The DLP remains committed to, and fully supportive of, the continued growth and development of UWI Cave Hill and increased access to tertiary education for Barbadians,” he said.
Sinckler said the expansion at the Cave Hill Campus had resulted in major increases in the Government’s contribution to UWI.
“In about 2003/2004 the Cave Hill Campus began a major expansion in terms of the numbers of students and the amenities offered. In 1999 for example, there were around 3 568 undergraduate students at the Cave Hill and by 2007 this number had increased to around 6 718 and currently stands at around 7 200 students.  The expansion has meant major increases in the Government of Barbados’ contribution to UWI.
“For example, in 2007, the financial contribution of the Barbados government to UWI Cave Hill was $79.3 million dollars, a $28.3 million over the $51 million required in 1999. However, between 2007 and 2008 the annual contribution required from the Government of Barbados increased from $79.3 million to $120.5 million.  To put things in context, for the entire period 1999 to 2007 combined, the total contribution required from the Government of Barbados to the Cave Hill Campus was $543.2 million, compared to the $636.3 million dollar contribution required for the 2008 to 2012 period. The reality is that the amount required in the last five years was $93 million greater than the previous nine years combined”.
Sinckler said the stark reality was that since around 2006, the total contribution by the Government of Barbados to UWI had exceeded the combined contribution to all nursery schools, primary schools, secondary schools, Barbados Community College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.
“While remaining committed to providing continued access to university education, the Government cannot continue to preside over a situation where the growth and development of the non-university component education system is severely retarded.  The country needs to be able to build capacity at all levels”.
The minister said this major shift in policy was not just for this administration, but for the country as a whole adding it would meet with its fair share of criticism.
“We expect that and will take on board all constructive suggestions as to how we can deal with this very challenging issue. However my hope is that the discourse that will no doubt ensue will also take cognizance of the reality that the Government simply cannot continue to contract such huge amounts of expenditure for which it knowingly has no sustainable means of meeting,” said Sinckler.