Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Shadow Minister of Education Edmund Hinkson is demanding answers from Minister of Education Ronald Jones on why Barbadian students attending the Jamaica-based Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies have not yet received promised bursaries.
In a strong statement issued this afternoon, the St James North MP charged that failure to provide the funds had created much uncertainty for the students and now was not the time for the “Minister to plead a lack of knowledge to the matter”.
“These students are yet again in the position where they do not know whether they will be able to continue their university education next week when the second semester commences. Their tuition fees, callously imposed by this DLP [Democratic Labour Party] Government two years ago, need to be paid for last semester before they can obtain their examination results.”
Citing a report made by an unnamed Barbadian student that she had not been granted the promised $1,800 bursary for this academic year, Hinkson revealed that he had received similar reports from other MPs and constituency caretakers that hundreds of Barbadians students had been left in the dark.
“What is to happen to those needy, eligible students, some from my constituency, who applied for bursaries but did not even receive a response from the Education Ministry?”
Further charging that over 4, 000 Barbadian students dropped out of the UWI last academic year because they could not afford to pay the “harshly imposed tuition fees” Hinkson questioned whether Government was now prepared to allow more young people from poor, working class backgrounds to discontinue their tertiary education because it has hailed to honour its pledge.
“Are these students not automatically eligible for a continuation of bursaries in a following academic year once they have successfully completed their present courses?
“We call on the Education Minister to immediately clarify to the public of Barbados this uncertainty surrounding the disbursement of these bursaries,” he added.
Efforts by Barbados TODAY to reach Jones were unsuccessful up to the time of publication.