First year students pursuing studies in specific disciplines will soon be able to attend the University of the West Indies (UWI) without any type of encumbrances.
Minister of Education Ronald Jones made this announcement at the weekend to a joint meeting of three ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) constituency branches at the Grantley Adams Memorial School in St Joseph.
Identifying areas in which Government is expected to concentrate, Jones said: “There are areas of significant priority such as science, technology, innovation, engineering and maths on which the Government will be focusing attention.
“There are also areas of the humanities which are very important to the civilizing aspect of any society. So these areas of study will not be eliminated. There are also areas in the social sciences for which there is a strong need. For example, economists in the pure discipline because we also have to look to the future.
He went on: “These are some of the emerging thoughts of the administration. . . . We will conclude that exercise as quickly as possible so that it can go through the steps that it has to go through. Candidates will know the methodology we will use for them to be entered in the first year at the University of the West Indies.”
Earlier, Jones contended that education in Barbados was under attack and was adamant that there was a conspiracy against education.
The outspoken minister made this observation after many Opposition spokesmen claimed that the Freundel Stuart administration had introduced tuition fees which had the potential to sideline children of the working class.
Recently, the outgoing principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, contended the tuition fee-paying tertiary policy had the potential to set back the university for another 20 years.
In defence of the administration, Jones said: “We in the Democratic Labour Party have been looking at the university and you know that we said to the students, you have to pay your tuition cost. That is 20 per cent of overall cost.
“We offered some bursaries and most of the people were able to access them. We are still looking to accommodate others. The process had some hiccups,” he added.