A retired university professor is insisting that Cave Hill Campus students should help pay for their own education, but is questioning the amount Government is asking them to pay.
Retired dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at, Cave Hill Campus, Professor Henry Fraser, has also expressed surprise at the lack of timely intervention from financial institutions to assist.
From September, full-time students in the faculty he was once in charge of will pay $17,668 in tuition fees, those studying law will pay $9,958, those pursuing humanities and education, as well as social sciences, will have to pay $6,675. The total costs are inclusive of amenities fees, guild fees and ID card fee for new students.
Several students have already said they will be forced to discontinue their studies because they are unable to foot that bill.
Sharing his views on the contentious issue with Barbados TODAY, Fraser said: “Students have got to pay something, and I cannot understand why the university and the banks of Barbados are not planning for low interest loans to cover the training of our students in all faculties.
“Everywhere in the world students borrow money to go through their university education. So the Government needs to revise downwards, to some extent, what they are asking the students to pay, but the banks need to come in and to provide this. And in this whole discussion over the last six months I have heard nothing about the bank solving the problem. The banks have $8 billion in the bank doing nothing. They should be talking to the university,” added Fraser.
Last week principal and pro-vice chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles pleaded with financial institutions at a private sector breakfast forum to step up to the plate, saying now was the perfect time for them to step in and assist students.
Speaking specifically to the faculty of medical sciences, Fraser said it was critical that Barbados maintain that department and the student levels.
In fact, he said it was about time the island developed more specialists such as biochemists, physiologists, public health doctors, epidemiologists and statisticians in an effort to strengthen the resources for both teaching and research.
“We have three cardiologists. We need seven. We have two neurosurgeons. We need four. We should be the main clinic of the Caribbean. If we can capitalize on that vision then we would have the best medical centre in the whole Caribbean region. We are half-way there, but we stopped,” Fraser lamented.
“If we don’t have a medical faculty here we then revert to having to import doctors from India and Nigeria as in the past who have not been trained in our culture, in our system and with our specific medical priorities,” he said, adding that since the creation of a faculty with a full medical programme the cost of training had decreased to less than half of what it was before.