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Bajan students must now pay at Cave Hill

uwifountainFor the first time in post-Independent Barbados, Barbadians will have to pay tuition fees to attend the University of the West indies.

This was revealed this evening by Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, as he delivered his much anticipated 2013 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals in the House of Assembly.

“The Government of Barbados recognises that access to education at all levels has been 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. 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 excess 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 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.”

The minister added: “The stark reality is that since around 2006 or so, the total contribution by the Government of Barbados to UWI has exceeded the combined contribution to all of our 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.

“As a consequence, the Government has decided that in an effort to assist it in meeting the exploding costs of university education it has now become necessary to ask students attending and desirous of attending the University of the West Indies to contribute to their education in a more direct manner.

“This policy will reduce the transfer to UWI by an estimated $42 million a year. “


Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler (FP)

“Therefore effective 2014 Barbadian citizens pursuing studies at campuses of the UWI will be required to pay tuition fees from academic year 2014/2015, while the Government will continue to fund economic costs. According to the most recent scale of fees, tuition fees for students in the Faculties of Humanities and Education, Social Sciences and Science & Technology 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. The Government will continue to pay all of the economic costs…

“This policy will reduce the transfer to UWI by an estimated $42 million a year. The Ministry of Education will provide further details on a Means Testing Mechanism to ensure no deserving person is denied access to university education because of the means of their parents or themselves.

“The ministry will also outline adjustments to the Student Revolving Loan Scheme to ensure that adequate access to loans with attractive repayment terms is available while the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs will in the coming week work with local finance houses to establish a National Registered Education Savings Plan with appropriate tax allowance provisions for savers. We also expect that our commercial banks, credit unions and other lending agencies will come forward with other attractive packages.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, we appreciate that this is a major shift in policy, not just for this administration but for the country as a whole and it will 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 cognisance 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.

“Since these expenditures missed today become huge debts tomorrow (which we are daily reminded by the management of the UWI are owed to them) it is simply not the responsible thing to do.”


24 Responses to Bajan students must now pay at Cave Hill

  1. Brerlou L. King August 13, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I sincerely hope that the government will also rush post haste to put mechanisms in place whereby a system of scholarships, bursaries, and loans will ensure that no talented student will be deprived of an education because of his inability to meet the tuition fees.

  2. Unforgettable August 13, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I really don’t think that the Minister thought about the students who are currently in the system and barely able to make payments. I honestly think that the fees should be imposed on those persons wishing to attend UWI for 2014 seeing that they would have adequate time to plan ahead and look at other options and those who are currently in the system should have been allowed to continue at the current fee that they are paying until they are phased out.

  3. The children are our future August 13, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    One word…..regression

  4. Concerned teacher August 13, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    As a teacher I see plenty of children who are from lower income or middle class families with amazing academic talent, are they now to fall by the way side simply because they don’t have the economic support that more fortunate students may enjoy? This is simply perpetuating the cycle of poverty by removing education as a viable way of progression, what’s left? Drugs? It is truly a sad day in Barbados, where is a student who has demonstrated amazing academic potential supposed to find $65000 per year to fulfill the dream of becoming a doctor. Simply put, the rich will remain rich and the poor will remain poor. The middle class will be eradicated. Barbados will become and island of haves and have nots.

  5. sum1 August 14, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Not all U.W.I students are time wasters n with the drastic measures taken by the DLP, most serious students can no longer afford to continue to pursue their education cus they simply cannot afford it …….. esp those who work to put myself through school.The time wasters are usually the comfortable ones not the poor ones who knows how hard things are.

    How do you pay a student loan with a degree and no employment ?

  6. sad August 14, 2013 at 3:12 am

    It’s sad. Students won’t be able to afford this. More people are going to stay home rather than get educated. CRIME will rise.

  7. Glasshalffull August 14, 2013 at 6:05 am

    I was happy to read this headline. This is a brave step in the right direction. More tough decisions ahead but I am confident Barbados will prosper with time and dedication. Education is the backbone of our nation, but not the responsibility entirely of the government to fund. I agree that efforts for interest free or low interest loans and bursaries are better more sustainable options, practiced globally.

  8. Reality Check August 14, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Suck it up! Poor unfortunate people in every Caribbean country except Trinidad and Tobago, not only pay higher tuition but high cost for room and board. Its not a crime to pay for what you want. Take some responsibility!

    • C'est la vie August 14, 2013 at 10:05 am

      I agree 117.5 % (VAT INCLUDED)

  9. Faceitnow August 14, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Face the reality people this was an option of now or future it’s better to happen now than later. For long we have been dependent on government to fit the bill but the truth is that things can only happen for sooo long, yes it was a privilege to have free education but time to move on from here. 1 suggestion that should be noted that student that are of great academic talent and low income backgrounds should be awarded with a scholarship. In contrast, Students who are academically talented and are of a high income background should foot the bill for too long in this country the rich have been given a pass and the poor are made to pay things must change!

  10. Depressed August 14, 2013 at 9:07 am

    This is a step backward. Free education has helped so many poor Barbadian – but I guess some of those Barbadians are now politicians and FORGET how they managed to get their job in the first place. Wow, now we are following the example of crime-ridden poverty-stricken islands (unnamed but known by us all) who already do not educate their people.

    • C'est la vie August 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Paying for tertiary education will not increase crime and poverty. It will only juice the innovation and determination of those who REALLY desire a University degree …

      • Fiona Waldron August 15, 2013 at 6:27 am

        Very true! If you want that degree, you will work for a few years, apply for whatever scholarships that are going and try to get a part time position while you are studying. When you foot the bill, you go to every class, you make sure that the lecturer does not leave the classroom until you fully understand and you generally go the extra mile. The crime and poverty ramblings are truly nonsensical.

  11. C'est la vie August 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

    For years Eastern Caribbean students have been bearing the weight of paying full tuition fees to a regional university.

    UWI, Cavehill had become a “Bajan University” … crowded with lazy Bajans … some at UWI for 7 and 8 years switching from faculty to faculty.

    Bajans, stop whining and start valuing tertiary education by paying for it just like all other islanders do. You live in a country where there is a UNIVERSITY. You don’t have to pay RENT, ya drive ya madda and fadda car, ya eat their food. Stop complaining !!!!!

  12. Puzzled August 14, 2013 at 10:13 am

    There goes the dream of our forefathers. Errol Walton Barrow must be turning in his grave. Wasn’t it the DLP who ushered in free education? Yes we understand that costs are escalating but couldn’t the DLP have found a kinder gentler way to do this? Couldn’t they have used graduated scale up to 100%; maybe starting out at 25% so that the burden would be easier to bear?

  13. Nikki Jonas August 14, 2013 at 11:19 am

    It is time this was done and it is not the Government’s fault. UWI is now taking in 16 year olds straight out of secondary school who end up spending 6 and 7 years there, wasting our tax payers’ money. UWI is bursting at the seams so it can collect “free money” from the different Caribbean Governments.

    The amount in tuition fees is insignificant compared to what students in other countries have to pay. Note the Minister said the students only have to pay TUITION fees, the Government will still pay the ECONOMIC COST. So for a Humanities degree the student will pay $5,625 while Government will pay $28,125. Leave out the latest iphones, ipods and ipads and I’m sure they will be able to afford it.

  14. Rory August 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    There are so many misconceptions about Barbadian tertiary students. And I think that some of these misconceptions are why some people are ok or even delighted with this move. First thing, every society will have it’s lazy students. I hate that fact that so many people think that that’s the majority at UWI, Cave Hill. Lazy Bajans who switch majors several times some say. I was a UWI student and you could point out the handful of students who did that. They were notorious, lost and ridiculous, but certainly nowhere near the majority. Also, people seem to think only the young attend University so parents will just need to better prepare for schooling their youngsters. But that’s not true. You have a large number of working professionals and parents who are at UWI pursuing degrees, sometimes because their jobs depend on it. You aren’t just marginalizing young people, but you are also shaking up breadwinners who are struggling to get that paper to secure their job or that promotion, and still pay bills, mortgages and get their children to school. And what of those who are already in the system? Why couldn’t this be something that would only pertain to those who are now looking to go into UWI? They would have much more time to prepare.

    I am disappointed by this move. I maintain that despite assertions that Bajans are lazy, it cannot have been mere luck that has made this country one of the most economically, socially and politically stable countries in the Caribbean…Subsidized education and health care are essential to ensuring the only resource this country has – its people – can flourish. I fear this is a huge step back.

  15. Concerned Citizen August 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Please read, people. The change isn’t to punish the poor or those who can’t afford it, it’s to afford equal finance and attention to all sectors of education. Do you apply for UWI at the age of 5 years old? No. To say that UWI should remain so heavily funded while the minister so clearly said “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.” is silly. All students of all ages require equal attention. Those who benefited from not having to pay tuition should be happy it lasted so long given the current state of the global economy.
    Place your political opinions aside and see the bigger picture.

    • Fiona Waldron August 15, 2013 at 6:19 am

      Thank you concerned citizen. Many are responding very emotionally (understandably so) and forgetting this element of the discussion. For too many years we have privileged tertiary education over all others. One reason why employers have complained about the quality of the UWI grad is precisely because not enough funding has been assigned to the lower levels. Poor literary, numeracy and problem solving skills all reflect failures at the these lower levels. Let’s re-balance the system now so that all kids have a strong basis to go forward in life. We have more than enough lawyers, doctors and political scientists and historians. Once we move out of this crisis, instead of pumping money back into UWI, lets see how we can boost technical and vocational skills. Lets get back to the primary level and see how we can address the lower level of attainment in mathematics. At the secondary school level, how can we set up innovative systems which can ignite the interest of those that the Common Entrance process have marginalised. As sad as this juncture is, every crisis throws up the opportunity for us to do better and strive for more.

  16. TruthSeeker August 14, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I am really, really disappointed by this move. I was hoping that the people charged with the stewardship of our country would have seen the benefit of upholding Errol Barrow’s vision. Trinidad has its oil, flying fish and most of the commercial infrastructure in Barbados. Guyana and Jamaica are similarly blessed with abundant natural resources. Barbados has been blessed with its people, and it’s only through the development of those people that our country will progress. The Government is penalising the people of Barbados for its failure to keep its debt to UWI current. I have a relatively good job, and the cost of tuition expenses for my child, in addition to books and the fees Bajans already pay, will make sending him to UWI a struggle, if not impossible. Yes, adversity makes us stronger but to impose additional hardship on the people who are genuinely trying to improve themselves, and the country as a whole is unforgiveable for an administration that took its cool time in trying to stem the recession’s impact on Barbados. I’ll be speaking with my vote when the time is right.

  17. Brimstone August 14, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    These opinions all have a foundation, depending on your focus. The Minister has lost or maybe never had a focus in dealing with this issue. Bajans and all who attend UWI should pay, full stop. Nothing in life is free and if you really need it, you will fight for it.
    The package had a bad design. Government should fund 15% of the total cost and the remainder should be tied to an index related to the persons level of hardship and family based salary. The poor people on the aggregate scale would have a very high degree and so would obtain more than enough to fund the child’s education, so our bright young stars wont be left in the cold.
    With this in place I would have little to fear because the majority of civil servants who cool out at UWI and fail to produce in the government departments would be eliminated, so too would the major players in top government positions, since the family salary criteria would knock them out as well.
    We also need to understand this is not all about getting an education, it also means the eventual application of that knowledge to help the country, and it is currently not being done. There is also the need for the public sector to redisign the working environment, and demand that the unions add their two cents in productive dialog rather than preaching resentment and negativity.
    Unions need to seek a new charter that will allow them to also help coordinate and advise prospective students of good areas to persue and educate them of labor law in the work place as a heads up for employment. They also need to research the path of acquiring structured sectorial group life insurance plans which would really help its members, and forming a close relationship with the top recruiters in the nation to help young people with jobs. They have a large playing area but seek only to be in bed with the government.
    Paying for eduation is a must, life and the way business is done has gone ahead and we are merely trying to catch up. Let those that can pay, PAY, we can still educate our poor kids

  18. CPL August 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    This is a backwards move lacking intelligence. There are two easy ways to deal with tuition fees 1) Make quotas for each faculty/programme , the country must decide how many people in each faculty it needs to sustain itself. If you don’t make the cut you can pursue at a less subsided rate. The most deserving and hardest working will get a chance to pursue their degree . 2) If you fail – you pay more. This ensures less time wasting and encourages a better quality degree and graduate.

  19. Brimstone August 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Concerned Citizen and Fiona Waldron, we may need you to become the caretakers of the nation.
    No one else seems to undestand the serious impact of this issue. Barbados had the best education system up to university level a couple decades ago now it is poor. The USA education system for its mid-schoolers is deplorable, maths and english is pathetic, do we need to emulate this pattern.
    When people pay for something they treasure it, but if it is free there is absolutely no regard for it.
    I agree with Fiona, the UWI students would pay more attention and be better in all aspects of their performance if they had to work and pay for their education. I am from the old school and was educated home but also had to pay to be educated in the USA, and the structured system is for everyone.
    In my previous comment, I advocated the 15% across the board allowance and then the degree of hardship for the family, along with their annual salaries. This simple opens the door for the really poor kids to benefit not what Chris has proposed. The US Federal Government has Pel and Tap also as grants which are not repayable, plus countless scholarship avenues. In this regard, Chris should have solicited the goodness of country by the large private sector companies, and even the unions to offer scholarships. This could also be addressed by issuing a corporate tax credit on the corporation tax of these institutions. The benefits would be going to our young poor people. This being done the budget allocation to education should now be addressed to redesigning our education system from primary to university level.
    Chris just gave the BTA a massive incentive, yet the myraids of graduates who were guaranteed jobs on graduation are yet to land a single wothy tourism related position. It is frustrating to our youth, we need to start acting and stop pretending. The fundamental thing we have ALL lost sight of, is that this is no longer a party or political issue, this is an explosive situation that can consume the Sovereign Nation of Barbados and we need to put politics aside and save our nation before resorting to psrtisan politics. Barbados supersedes any party, as a matter of fact, the party is made up of people and the best I can recall we have buried, even the best and most honourable of gentlemen on the rock…… Wake up and smell the coffee, or they may turn out to be roses….. We are the best people in the worl and we can do it, fire those that are non performing and let’s get on with the business, our forefathers never expected, this and we are obligated to leaving our children a better way and more options in life…. Good Luck

  20. Leah August 19, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Every comment here speaks of generalizing the university population. The University of the West Indies has made a tremendous contribution to the lives of many, and the “free” education we speak of is the reason why so many have been able to progress as we did; out current ministers included. UWI has its slackers, as does every other educational institution, but the majority are hard working students (both mature and young). Bajans are among the highest taxed people in the region; if that money isn’t funding education and health care…where is it going?


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