Hinkson: Blame Govt for Bajans missing UWI

Opposition Shadow Minister of Education Edmund Hinkson is blaming poor planning by the Freundel Stuart administration for a fall in the number of Barbadians able to attend university this semester.

The Member of Parliament for St James North said today that not only had Government been wrong in halting payments of university tuition fees for Barbadians two years ago, but it was now unable to secure funding to grant student loans because of its poor preparation.

“The people of Barbados are victims of poor planning on the part of the Government of Barbados in terms of the funding of tertiary education,” Hinkson told Barbados TODAY this evening in reference to the Student Revolving Loan Fund’s (SRLF) inability to draw down on a US$7.5 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank for on-lending to students and their parents.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced during 2013 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals that Government would stop paying tuition fees for Barbadian students pursuing studies at the University of the West Indies, but would continue to cover economic costs.

The move, Sinckler said at the time, would save the Treasury an estimated $42 million a year.

Hinkson said the financial difficulties facing the SRLF, along with the decision to stop covering tuition fees, had been a setback for average Barbadians.

“Every Barbadian must be able to develop themselves to the fullest capacity and the Government of Barbados owes its people the opportunity. This is what gives a competitive edge over other countries,” he contended.

Although Minister of Education Ronald Jones insisted the SRLF was not broke, students who had applied for loans were turned down because of a lack of funds.

Sinckler said last week that the Fund was experiencing, “challenges while it awaits an injection of funds through a facility from the Caribbean Development Bank” and he proposed to provide $5 million from the National Insurance Scheme as a temporary measure to make money available for the students.   

The Minister of Finance said at the time that Government would get the money by issuing special Treasury Bills, but Hinkson said it was too little, too late.   

“It seems to me that now would be too late for some people. The semester begins next week at the University of the West Indies, and a next couple weeks at the Hugh Wooding Law School [in Trinidad],”he said.

“Some  parents have told me that their children would not be able to attend the University of the West Indies this year. They were depending on acquisition of a loan from the Student Revolving Loan Fund, and it is now too late for them to apply for other finances to try and fund the tuition fees that the Government has imposed on Barbadians two years ago,” Hinkson charged.

3 Responses to Hinkson: Blame Govt for Bajans missing UWI

  1. Smiley August 25, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    DLP TO BLAME FOR IT

    Reply
  2. Keelie August 26, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Yup, they are to blame for it. Now it is up to us to make sure that the truth gets out there. The poor people that they said would be taken care of , have been the worst affected by their policy and only their “friends” seem to have been given funding.

    Reply
  3. Sheron Inniss August 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Come on Mr Hinkson the SRLF is not empty because of the DLP administration. That is why I tune out at budget time. A bundle of braying ( I spell it right ) is all yuh does hear. He haw, he haw, he haw….. I agree with you that free tuition fees should have been phased out. I make no apologies for saying this as I never attended UWI, so no one can accuse me of reaping the sweets. I have always thought that we were given too much when it comes to education. Some people do not even appreciate the struggles that our forefathers made for us. If money was plentiful I would give in to the government covering some or all of the costs for a 1st degree. Anything after that whoever want more words behind their names let them foot the bill.

    Reply

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