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University students still upset about fees


Mike King

University  students still upset about fees

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THE?TUITION?FEES?are a nightmare. Ease the pain.
 These were among the cries from dozens of students from the Faculty of Humanities who attended a meeting at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus yesterday evening that dealt with the vexing issue of the planned implementation of tuition fees for Barbadian students come September.
 Social commentator Margaret Gill told the WEEKEND?NATION, she would not allow the new tuition fees to prevent her in her quest to obtain a doctorate.
“I?went to this meeting convinced that the Government of Barbados is making a major error in not continuing to socialise education . . . I have a problem with that. I went to the meeting thinking that and after coming out of the meeting, I am even more convinced of it, having heard that they are many people who are not going to be able to meet the payments,” she said.
“Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler successfully posed this issue of privatisation of tertiary education as Barbados against the UWI?campus and the whole of Barbados bought it.”
Public relations officer of the Guild of Undergraduates, Daniel Willock, said that body was still very unhappy about how the matter had been handled.
“We are not pleased with the way the tuition fees have been implemented. We understand that the economy is in a dire situation at the moment but the students are in a dire situation as well, in particular part-time students.
“When the Government is laying off 3 000 people, those include students who might be working and coming to school. When that happens, they can’t pay for the tuition fees that are going to rise in September and as a result of that there are instances where some families have to choose whether the parent or the child goes to university. That is a very sad situation for any family to be in,” he said.
Willock said the jump in fees was astronomical, came too soon and was unreasonable.
“We wish the Government could have implemented the hike in fees at a more subtle pace so that it would not have been such a great shock. That is why we made recommendations that the hike could have been about ten to 15 per cent a year,” he said.
Student Natasha Evelyn said the meeting served a purpose but had some concerns.
“The purpose of the meeting was supposedly to hear the concerns of the students and get an idea as to where our minds were. The chair of the meeting said it was not a financial meeting and to my mind, you cannot understand the emotional concerns of students without taking into consideration the financial aspect because ultimately it is a dollars and cents issue,” she said.
Evelyn said it was unreasonable for Government to ask students to go from paying $490 in some instances to $5 000 or more. 
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