Saturday, April 20, 2024

Fees ‘best option’

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IF THE Democratic Labour Party (DLP) had not instituted fees at the University of the West Indies (UWI), it would have ended up sacrificing Barbados, says Minister of Education Ronald Jones.

In an impassioned presentation on Saturday during the Young Democrats’ second annual educational grant programme award ceremony at DLP headquarters, George Street, Belleville, St Michael, Jones chastised those who were counting the registrants at UWI.

Last week, just days before teaching was scheduled to get under way at the Cave Hill Campus of UWI, sources there said fewer than 5 000 students had registered, a slump from the just over 9 000 registered last year. Statistics then had indicated that 1 225 had accepted places for new enrolment, but only 421 had registered. This was less than a quarter of the just over 1 800 new students who enrolled for the 2013-2014 academic year.

“If we had kept funding 100 per cent of university education, the hospital would have been closed, the SJPP [Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic] would be on its last legs and we would have had to cut BCC [Barbados Community College] by 50 per cent,” Jones said.

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