Late start to classes in UWI’s humanities department

Classes in the Faculty of Humanities of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies have been put on hold for at least a week, amid reports that the number of students entering the faculty has seen  a sharp decline.

The move comes even as the Minister of Education Ronald Jones dismissed as “foolish noise” comments that Government’s new policy of requiring students to pay tuition fees had led to a major dip in UWI enrollment numbers.

An email has been circulated to students accepted for and continuing in the faculty, informing them that the university needs time this week to carry out some “internal reorganization”.

No details about the nature of that reorganization were forthcoming. However, Barbados TODAY understands that the university is in the process of accepting late registration, with hopes of seeing an increase in numbers for courses offered by the Faculty of Humanities.

However, sources said even with late registration they did not see the numbers increasing by much.

Classes for new students in other faculties started this week but the humanities students are expected to begin next Monday at the earliest, according to the university communication.

Official figures obtained by Barbados TODAY showed that only 90 students were accepted for the faculty this school year, compared to 219 last year and 193 in 2012.

Over the weekend, Minister of Education Ronald Jones was highly critical of people he said seemed bent on creating confusion by speculating about how many students would be continuing or starting their studies at the UWI.

Addressing an awards ceremony for the Young Democrats Educational Grant Programme, he said: “This is the first time I’ve seen so many hungry people beating at the door of the University of the West Indies [asking], ‘wait them got three people in there, or them ain’t got none? Tell me, let me create confusion in the place’. That’s what they do and I ain’t going to apologize for saying that.”

In an apparent reference to recent media reports, which have quoted campus sources as indicating a drastic decline in student enrolment for the 2014/2015 academic year as a result of the Government’s new policy, the Minister of Education appealed specifically to members of the media to “let the place live and settle down”.

Ronald Jones
Minister of Education Ronald Jones (FP)

“Let the place settle down!” he insisted, complaining that “every day, for the past three or four weeks, they have been calling the University of the West Indies [inquiring about], ‘how much you got in Social Sciences? You got four people in Humanities?’, all kinds of foolishness!”

“Let the university go through its systems, finish the registration process. Let the Student Revolving Loan Fund do what it has to do, let us work it through, work it out. Let the university come up with models and help its students go through the system,” the minister added.

Jones said while the Government would have liked to maintain 100 per cent coverage for students, a new financing strategy had become critical when its tuition payments ballooned to more than $200 million annually.

He said if the Freundel Stuart administration had continued to pay tuition fees for all students, other educational and health institutions would have suffered.

“The hospital would have closed; [the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic] would have been on its last legs; we would have had to cut the [Barbados Community College] by 50 per cent,” he said.

“These are the realities.”,


11 Responses to Postponed

  1. Beverley St John
    Beverley St John September 2, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Ahhhhhh, this is only the beginning!

  2. Raymond Jones
    Raymond Jones September 2, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Gov’t shouldn’t pay one more dime, UWI is a Mickey Mouse school that does run like a rum-shop.

    • Michael Ess
      Michael Ess September 2, 2014 at 8:17 am

      Rum shops usually make a good deal of money tho

  3. Frederick Alleyne
    Frederick Alleyne September 2, 2014 at 1:48 am


  4. Anna Bovell
    Anna Bovell September 2, 2014 at 7:51 am

    How about Barbadians for once look at the situation entirely and realize that many students who can afford to go have forsaken their “loved” subjects to study something they know for a fact they can find work in and be paid well for . How about Barbadians also examine the attractiveness of the courses offered in that particular faculty. “Free Tertiary ” education in this economic climate was definitely unsustainable get over it. You all rather get an educational tax instituted on top of the solid waste tax? Everybody knows you would not. Yet, Mia wouldn’t be able to march against that.. so maybe because the vast majority of you love to play games nothing would have been said. Yes, the implementation of the fees was a bit sudden, yes more thought should have gone into it but what were the options really …..because I am sure if they did nothing you all would still be making noise over the climbing deficit and unpaid debt.

  5. Julia Robinson
    Julia Robinson September 2, 2014 at 8:26 am

    They go.overseas and pay…now pay at home.

  6. Ayo September 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    There are certain things that a government with its back against the wall economically does. It decides what is more important and what will benefit the country overall in the long term. How important is it to the Barbadian economy that we continue to educate as many people to the highest level as we can? I am lucky to be old enough to remember a time when few from the lower classes were educated and their dream job was to be a cashier or waitress. I am also old enough to see the significant changes that have taken place in my society with many, including myself, pulling ourselves out of poverty and extreme debt through education and entrepreneurship. Yes the large majority of poorer Barbadians will never own the large countries but that calls for a different kind of education, and injection of capital that will never be afforded them. To believe that free education has failed this country is a sad position to be in. To believe that a government that can spend millions on travel,cars, constituency councils that are mere political mechanisms, 25 year tax breaks to the wealthy, the celebration of our enslavement by a colonial government… etc etc, is to be politically and socially defunct and immature. In the context of such a highly taxed environment, social services to the poor and underprivileged is a RIGHT. I actually believe that students at UWI should pay fees, the likes of those student there who believe that fees should be paid…SHOULD PAY. It is a well known fact that a man’s beliefs are formed by his material and social circumstances. However, those students who fall below a comfortable economic threshold should not be deprived of higher education simply because they cannot afford it. One more thing, the point of an education is so that one has an independent point of view, and not just believe and regurgitate the rhetoric of lecturers or politicians concerned with their own survival. To agree that the government has no choice in these draconian policy, whilst it misappropriates the public’s purse is to legitimize the idea that Barbadians are educated fools.

  7. Angela Maria
    Angela Maria September 2, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Wait,,,I thought the Minister say…in fact…lemmie hush….


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