BCC course change angers registrar

bccThe registrar of the state-owned Barbados Community College (BCC) has challenged the school’s board of management over its  “unilateral” decision to scrap the associate degree programme in nursing and pharmacy and replace it with the bachelor of arts just about two months before the start of the new semester.

Registrar Syndey Arthur told Barbados TODAY this afternoon the decision, which was made at the board’s July 15 meeting, was done in a vacuum without considering the impact a massive jump in fees for Barbadian students from $320 per year to $2,500 would also have on the ability of poor families to find that money at such late notice.

Arthur said the catalogue advertising the various courses, including the associate degree in nursing and pharmacy, was released to the public November and applications starting pouring in the following month.

“On the basis of this information people out there who had an interest in nursing would have made applications for the associate degree in nursing. In fact, we received in excess of 300 applications for nursing. We would take in about 80, 90 students,” he added.

As a result, the BCC registrar noted that people in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean applied on the basis of what the college had publicized.

“This board waited until July 15 to inform us that the associate degree in nursing will no longer be offered. The only condition that I know of that we don’t run a programme is if it is under subscribed. This programme was no way near undersubscribed,” he emphasized.

Arthur said while he did not have a problem with the introduction of the Bachelor’s programme, he was upset that the catalogue which was released did not even list the bachelor’s degree nor the new increase in fees for that course.

“This is the other critical point. Over the last three or four years when we were offering bachelors degrees, Barbadians paid only $320 per year. When they announced they were replacing the associate degree in pharmacy and nursing with the bachelor’s degree, they never attached any fees to it.

“They never went to the press and say, ‘well these are the fees people have to pay’. So what will people do? People know you got a bachelor of fine arts, people know you got a bachelor of education and people only pay $320, so that is what they expected. They decided at the last minute in July, that you have to pay $2,500 a year.”

He surmised that most people in Barbados did not have that kind of money readily available to pay at such late notice.  Arthur also noted the public was only informed by the board of the Bachelor’s Degree and the new fees about two weeks ago and were required to register this week.

“What made matters worse was not only did they inform the public of Barbados about these fees late, but then they send me a letter telling me that they have to pay the fees in two installments. So if a student is enrolled to the BA in nursing they have to pay $2,500 plus $300 which is about $2,800, they have to pay at least $1,500 of that now and the next half at the start of the second semester,” added the BCC registrar.

He said the majority of Barbadians struggled to pay $300 and many of the students who take the nursing course did not come from a middle class background.

Arthur disclosed that the 80 students who had been accepted to pursue the associate degree in nursing and pharmacy have not claimed their acceptance letters because of the last minute notification of increased fees and the six to eight weeks it would take for applications to the Student Revolving Loan Scheme to be processed.

In a letter dated July 23, 2015,the registrar recommended that the board rescinds its decision to drop the associate degree and introduce the bachelor’s in the foreseeable future.   

He has also warned the board that its decision could be deemed a breach of contract with the public.

11 Responses to BCC course change angers registrar

  1. Luther Legends
    Luther Legends September 2, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Court can have a say on this

    Reply
  2. Sue Donym September 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Barbados needs to maintain its respectability in the international community. Education was one of those areas where we were very highly regarded. Let’s not lose this too. Having a good image demands that you operate according to internationally accepted standards.

    Have the decision makers given a thought to people who might have arranged leave from work; deferred enrolment in an overseas programme to attain a local qualification or otherwise planned around the offered courses, only to have it withdrawn in this way?

    This is scandalous if true. Please make this right.

    Reply
  3. carson c cadogan September 2, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    If he does not like it then he can resign. If I found myself in a situation not to my liking then i would remove my self from it.

    But the problem with a lot of these old fogies is the fact that they are very resistant to change. They want want everything to continue the way they have been going for eons.

    This kind of thinking is keeping back Barbados.

    The one constant in the World is Change.

    Reply
  4. Marc Goodridge
    Marc Goodridge September 2, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    BCC should delay this change for 2 years or however long it takes for the current students to obtain their Associates degree.

    Then start a fresh set of students with the bachelor’s degree.

    Reply
    • Marc Goodridge
      Marc Goodridge September 2, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      I agree with you. But as you said, the transition was handled poorly.

      At least one years notice should have been given.

      Reply
      • Sydney Arthur September 3, 2015 at 3:32 am

        Carson C Cadogan, it is a pity that you don’t seem to have grasped the point that was being made! The Registrar’ s objection is not about the Bachekor degree but with the short time frame given to applicants to find the money to pay the significantly increased fees, as well as not honoring the programmes that were advertised in the national press.

        There is no objection to change but to how the change was introduced!

        Reply
    • Marc Goodridge
      Marc Goodridge September 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Exactly!

      Reply
  5. Hightower Bajedude
    Hightower Bajedude September 2, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    A DLP yardfowl board of management would make a decision like that without finding how it would impact poor Barbadians. A waste government. Don’t do Nuttin right at all!

    Reply
  6. Hightower Bajedude
    Hightower Bajedude September 2, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    A DLP yardfowl board of management would make a decision like that without finding out how it would impact poor Barbadians. A waste government. Don’t do Nuttin right at all!

    Reply
  7. Sydney Arthur September 3, 2015 at 3:53 am

    This matter should not be reduced to party political rhetoric! Are barbarians incapable of addressing an issue of importance to the public without it being viewed through party political lenses!

    The fundamental questions are these:

    Is it right for a Board of Management of the BCC to unilaterally introduced change in the College’s programmes without consulting major stakeholders?

    It is right for a Board of Management to make changes to programmes offerings after informing the public that a Programme will be offered?

    Is it right for a Board of Management to make significant increases in tuition fees but give prospective students little warning of the change?

    Is it right for a Board of Management to make significant increases in tuition fees but then state that there will be NO PAYMENT PLAN to accommodate those persons who are unable to source the money at such short notice?

    Reply

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