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Option two

Sinckler: UWI students would have been asked to foot bigger bill

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler says Government has no immediate plans to roll back its new policy on tuition fee payments at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

And with some students and parents currently crying out over an unmet promise of bursaries, he is warning that the Government’s alternative plan for financing tertiary education would have been a lot worse on them.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler addressing meeting with hoteliers.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

“I am reasonably assured in my mind, based on what I saw and what was available to me, and the best advice that was available to me, that the alternative action would have been much more harsh, and worse than what we had to do in the end,” cautioned Sinckler.

The new tuition payment scheme, announced by Sinckler in his August 2013 budget, officially took effect this September, ending a free policy that was instituted by the ruling Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) founder and Father of Independence Errol Walton Barrow.

The Minister of Finance said while no one in the ruling DLP administration took pleasure in abolishing free tertiary education, “based on what we were seeing, and the fundamentals of the cost structure of tertiary education in Barbados, something had to be done.

“It could not be left untouched, and the alternative, in my view, would have been much worse,” he stressed.

Asked to further explain his position, Sinckler promised that he would have a lot more to say in the future.

However, looking at the issue of UWI costs and how they have escalated, and when matched against Government’s ability to pay, he warned that “if left in place, not just tuition fees, but economic costs which is the larger part of the [UWI student’s education] bill, may have come under scrutiny and come under need for change”.

“We didn’t want to go there. Somebody had to act, and act to some degree [with] expedition, so we looked at it and discussed it. Between the ministries, and the Government responsible, we made that choice.”

He argued that it was still too early to issue a failing grade.

“. . . The policy is new, it’s young. We are still working through it. This is the first year in which it is going to be implemented, so you have to give it time to see what happens,” he said in an interview with Barbados TODAY in which he was adamant that the new tuition payments must be allowed to work.

“If you implement a policy and before it gets a chance, you change it, well then you really didn’t want to have the policy in the first place. So we are going to look at it, and we are going to see,” he added.

Please also see Pages 10&11 in the 09/10/2014 edition –                         

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2 Responses to Option two

  1. Charles Alleyne
    Charles Alleyne October 10, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Sir what work are you talking about,u all keep saying give these policies time to work. Point blank they are not working and with these tuition fee we can see how it is working already and the serious impact on our young people and their future. This is not only an economic but a social fall out and if not reverse and soon you all going to see the repelled effect of this policy on our young people,and where are they going to go and i must be frank here with no apologies after many of you all politicians crawl on backs of the same poor people in this country now look what you all are doing to their children future.If anyone should know is the present government and look at it make up with many and say again many of you all came from poor backgrounds.Mr. Minister i do not care how you spin this it is an unpardonable sin sir which should never be forgiven.Our country Barbados is going down hill and fast you tell me sir how did we can here. I went to that great institution not because i had money and it was free but my thirst for personal development and to be able to give back to my country, I made friends from other Caribbean countries there who envy us for developing our country and they fell in love with this country and now they cannot believed in a few short years how we have fallen. Well i know with God you have to go through something but may God help us again not politicians they do not have what it takes to bring this country on firm footing .Blessed is the nation who God is the Lord.

    • Shirley Garnes
      Shirley Garnes October 10, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      Really. Would it be so terrible if people started saving for their children’s education. The rest of the world does this. Another thing I don’t understand is the rest of the people that can afford to send their children to university opp to send them to the U.S. or Canada. Those same people can educate their children on the island and donate that money to the university. How long do you think a country can run on free. Obviously someone has to pay for the up keep of the country. Think about that the next time you complain about not having Free university.


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