Tuition policy could implode society, warns opposition leader

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has warned of economic failure and the Barbados society “imploding” as a result of Government’s new policy on funding university education which has contributed to a near 30 per cent decline in student numbers at the Cave Hill Campus this academic year.

Just hours after an economist warned of other serious implications, Mottley cautioned that unless the Freundel Stuart administration reversed its decision, Barbados would have to paya high price.

Mottley told a Barbados Labour Party (BLP)-organised People’s Assembly in the Faculty of Law at the Cave Hill Campus last night that Government’s insistence on not
paying the tuition fees of Barbadian students was “not only ill-conceived, confused, extremely poorly communicated and executed, but effectively will represent the basis upon which, potentially, Barbados’ economy and society will implode in the next decade to two”.

The former minister of education in a previous BLP administration warned that without an educated population, Barbados would be in serious trouble.

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley

“We have nothing else upon which to rely but our people and if . . .  in the beginning it has already caused so much confusion and it has already led to so many people recoiling from wanting to come here [Cave Hill Campus] then I fear for the faith of this university, but more so the fate of our country as we move forward,” she said.

She described the introduction of tuition fee payment by students as an “ambush” although it was announced in August last year.

“Anyone who is familiar with the university system would know that it is impossible to introduce a policy that is as disruptive as this one is, particularly for existing students who are in the middle of their degree and who had a legitimate expectation upon registration in their first year that they would be pursuing a course of study that would be fully financed by the Government of Barbados as the Government has done from the very first day that the Cave Hill Campus operated down by the Port Authority, 51 years ago,” Mottley said.

There have been reports of cancellation of some courses at the Cave Hill Campus because of inadequate numbers for classes, with almost 2,500 fewer students registering for the 2014-2015 year.

Mottley said the premier institution of learning in Barbados had a lot to lose.

“The implications for this university, not just for Barbadian students but for all students, are clear. If there is not a critical mass to support the expenditure on a range of services, and a range of courses, this university will become less attractive and students from the region and from far afield will find Mona [Jamaica campus] and St Augustine [Trinidad campus] a more attractive prospect for a Caribbean education,” she cautioned.

“We run the risk as well – and I know this as a Member of Parliament – that there are some parents who, in the context of everything else that they are carrying today in terms of loss of jobs or reduced salary, increased cost, light bill, water bill, medical emergencies, will turn [away].”

“And these are not just working-class parents, these are middle-class parents as well who will say to their children, ‘I can’t manage it this year’,” Mottley said.

Yesterday afternoon, in an interview with Barbados TODAY, economist Ryan Straughn warned that if thousands of Barbadians were unable to afford university education with the full tuition burden on their shoulders, the undesirable effects could include wage moderation and a rise in unemployment.

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8 Responses to FUTURE FEAR

  1. John-What Ever
    John-What Ever September 12, 2014 at 3:53 am

    preach, teach, what you believe in, not what is on your political agenda, everyone is so board with that, dont you see it on their faces, think of a new concept ! dont argue with the opposition its a waste of time for you and them, education is the key and it must be made available for free, because NO ONE HAS ANY MONEY.

    • Shirley Garnes
      Shirley Garnes September 12, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Free education. Where is the money coming from. In order to have free education your going to have to raise taxes gone are the days of free. People are going to have to save their money in order to put their children through school just like the people in America.

    • Kerri-ann Katrina Reyes-Bichir
      Kerri-ann Katrina Reyes-Bichir September 12, 2014 at 8:07 am

      Well the Americans have 18 to 19 years to save…and this is not America and should never aspire to be like them

    • Angela Sandra Paul
      Angela Sandra Paul September 12, 2014 at 8:13 am

      People want everything for FREE. Nothing is free…where is the money going to come from…

  2. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce September 12, 2014 at 11:02 am


  3. Depablo September 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Everyone keeps asking where the money is going to come from, nothing is free. In that case let us stop paying income tax and use the money to acquire what we want. The level of taxation is so high in this country and the reason that is given is that we need the funds to run the country, schooling, housing, education and such like..

    Where was the money coming from the last 50 years? How were we able to manage our funds so efficiently that we paid for and ran the country. Do not make excuses for bad management of the economy.

    Give a wise man $100 and he can make it work, give a fool the same amount and he wastes it then raise taxes

  4. Tony Waterman September 12, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I agree with MOST of what has been said in this forum, and with what Ms.Mottley has said except that in my opinion. this problem occoured at the START/Beginning of free Tiertiary which was a good thing THEN, but no indication was made then as to how long it should go on for, or what level had to be achieved before it’s cessation, hence Today’s Problem.
    On the other Hand i have to agree with Ms.Mottley that it is an AMBUSH of sorts because the expectation of Students already in the system was that their Four Years of study was to be financed under the system existing at the time they entered the University.
    What i think Ms. Mottley should have done long time ago, was to form a LEGAL DEFENCE GROUP and take this to court on behalf of the Existing Students (Pro Bono) whom i believe should have been allowed to Graduate before this Fee Scheme was Introduced, i am of the Opinion that those particular Students had an UNWRITTEN CONTRACT with the Government of Barbados to finance their University Education.

  5. Rickie Nurse September 14, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    To Depablo, you could not have said it any clearer, I am in full agreement with your comment. Bad management of the economy is the root cause of not only the education (tertiary) sector, the (secondary) is following close behind shortly, but the entire social fabric of this country.

    Education, secondary and tertiary, was the ladder by which each and every single member of this current administration were able to rise above and beyond poverty and be the foundation on which they now stand so pompously.

    Having risen above it all, they are now ready willing and determined to kick down the ladder on which they climbed, denying others the from doing the same and achieving the same kind of success.

    Tell me if I am wrong and speaking lies. Was it not this same DLP administration under the late David Thompson leadership and now Freundel, who said many times, (especially during the election campaigns), they are going to ensure that every last household have at lease one university graduate?

    Tell me how will that ever be possible now, in which world, with these draconian measures that they have imposed on the middle class, the poor and ultra poor.

    Freundel, Chris and Ronald Jones need to go and listen carefully to the Mighty Sparrow’s song EDUCATION (from the 60s) and recognize that they are putting the future of this country in contravention with his song. Can you all still call yourselves with a clear conscience “a government of the people for the people.”


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