UWI ENROLMENT NUMBERS PLUMMET
The University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus has reported a dramatic drop in the number of students pursuing graduate and undergraduate studies, prompting principal Eudine Barriteau to make an urgent appeal to Government to re-examine its tuition fee policy.
Assuring Government and the public that the Campus had been vigorously pursuing internal measures to effect cost savings, Barriteau stressed that more critically, there was need to thoroughly examine the effects of the policy on the educational opportunities for Barbadian students who are unable to pay these fees.
Delivering remarks at the Campus’ 2015 matriculation ceremony held in the Roy Marshall Teaching Complex this evening, Barriteau quoted numbers to demonstrate the impact that the Government’s policy, introduced last year, has had on enrolment at the university.
“At the beginning of the 2013 academic year, the total enrolment at the Campus was 8,711 of which there were 1,285 graduate students and 7,426 undergraduate students enrolled. At this same time last year when the policy was first introduced the enrolment of the Campus stood at a grand total of 6,936, of which there were 1102 graduate students and 5, 834 undergraduates,” she said.
However, the Campus head said today there is a total enrolment of 4,772, with graduate enrolment plummeting from 1285 students two years ago to 266 today. Undergraduate numbers are now 4, 516.
“In two years the effect of the policy is dramatic and I urge the Government on behalf of Barbadian students to investigate ways to make it possible for students who wish to earn a degree at the Cave Hill or any other UWI Campus to be able to do so.”
In the 2013 budget, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler stated that the policy would reduce the subventions to UWI by an estimated $42 million a year.
“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”, he said at that time.
Following that announcement, the then Guild President Damani Parris appealed to Government to reconsider the policy, predicting that it would have a significant effect on the campus’ enrolment.
Last year, Government announced that it would provide an estimated 3,000 bursaries to help students attend the tertiary institution.
Barriteau said some of the cost cutting measures the Campus has embarked on included freezing vacant positions, significantly reducing part-time work, significantly reducing the number of substitutes for staff who are on holiday, rationalizing course offerings across faculties to reduce duplication, eliminating course offerings with low enrolment and increasing use of online technologies for the delivery of tutorial support.
She said Cave Hill had also been seeking and implementing energy and resource saving measures across multiple administrative and academic platforms.
The principal indicated that despite the sobering reality of the decline in enrolment, it was not all gloom and doom at the Cave Hill Campus. She vowed that the campus would not be defined by its current circumstances and that it remained committed to working with Government to improve this situation.
“And we are dedicated to returning the campus to a situation of student growth and financial solvency. You have entered a campus with a proud tradition of educating some of the most talented graduates in the Caribbean, and my colleagues and I have every intention of honouring our obligation to providing you with a first class UWI education within the parameters of our resource constraints,” Barriteau said.
Speaking directly to the students, she informed them of the campus’ expectation for them to take primary responsibility for their own learning and development.
“ We expect you to seek advice and assistance when needed. We expect you to demonstrate academic integrity. Most importantly we expect that you will recognize and respect each other’s differences as learners and that you will make full use of the opportunities for participation in extracurricular, co-curricular and personal development activities,” she added.