Outspoken principal of the Parkinson Memorial school, Jeffery Broomes, has thrown his support behind the Freundel Stuart administration for students attending the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, to start paying the cost of their tuition as of September 2014.Broomes’ comments came as he delivered the principal’s report at the school’s speech day and prize giving ceremony held at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic today.
“Every sector of our community has spoken on whether or not students should be asked to pay university fees. I say unreservedly, yes. The defense against paying is that they cannot afford it and I disagree,” said Broomes.
In his August 2013 Financial Statement And Budgetary Proposals Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler announced that government subsidy to UWI would be slashed and as of September 2014 students would require to pay their full tuition cost.
This announcement was met with mixed views from various section of the society.
The head of the Pine, St Michael institution said there were parents, like himself, who were able to afford the tuition costs, adding that many of them chose to send their wards overseas for tertiary studies instead. He said they should therefore be made to pay tuition here.
Broomes, who addressed a number of social and economic issues during his presentation, reasoned that those who could only afford to pay a portion of the tuition “be allowed to pay that amount”, while others who genuinely could not afford to pay anything “should not be expected to”.
“But should it be left to the taxpayers from throughout all walks of Barbadian life, including working class persons from The Pine, Silver Hill, Deacons Farm, Haynesville, Church Village and Crab Hill? Definitely not,” said Broomes, adding that taxpayers were already contributing “as much as 80 per cent”.
“These students, some of whom could also engage in part time employment but don’t even give voluntary service, should be asked to enter into a loan agreement to repay the twenty per cent within some stipulated time frame after graduation,” added Broomes.
He said he did not believe the country could afford to continue to foot the cost of university education of its people, acknowledging that the Government already owed the university. Broomes said continuing to pay tuition fees for the thousands of students “has the reverberating effect of destroying all the good it should be supporting”. (MM)