Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Senator Harry Husbands is not fazed by the almost 30 per cent drop in student registration at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
In fact, he is optimistic that the numbers will rise again.
He told Barbados TODAY it was only a matter of time before things returned to normal.
“Anything I say about that will sound a little callous but . . . this is the first year of the policy and as people become more accustomed and more attuned, the numbers at the university will eventually go back up,” Husbands said.
“People in all kinds of developed countries pay tuition fees. Tuition fees were a big issue in the United Kingdom; this is nothing new and it is not totally unexpected for people to have this reaction. But it doesn’t only need time, it also needs persons working together to resolve it. Over time, doing that, it will settle down.”
Official data compiled by campus officials, and released this week, showed that on the heels of Government’s decision to stop paying tuition costs for Barbadian students effective this 2014/2015 academic year, total student registration has dropped by 28.51 per cent.
All five faculties registered declines.
In the undergraduate department, the Faculty of Humanities and Education was the hardest hit, with a 38.04 per cent drop; while in the graduate division, registrations in the Faculty of Medical Sciences fell by just over 77 per cent.
The two faculties also saw the largest declines in new student registrations – 60.31 per cent and 55.88 per cent, respectively.
However, Husbands has appealed to Barbadians to hold strain and give the new policy a chance to settle.
“In the meantime, both the Government and the university will be working closely to ensure that people are not disadvantaged,” he stressed.
Husbands said he could not speak to the number of bursaries disbursed by the Ministry of Education to UWI students because they were still being processed.