The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration is setting the wheels in motion for the launch of its community service programme for Barbadian students pursuing undergraduate studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
In presenting her mini Budget on June 11, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Mottley had announced she would keep the BLP’s election campaign promise to pay tuition fees for Barbadians attending UWI, reversing a 2013 decision by the then Freundel Stuart Government.
However, in return, Mottley said, those benefiting from the opportunity would have to give something back to the country.
“We will abolish undergraduate tuition fees for those attending the University of the West Indies with effect from the next semester. In return we will require each student to contribute to the development of social capital by giving back a minimum of 100 hours in approved service to the country. We will introduce safeguards against the explosion of enrolment and estimate that this measure will increase expenditure by $22 million directly,” Mottley had said in her Budget presentation.
The Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) said in a release today that Government was preparing to begin the process, which will be led by the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations.
According to the BGIS, the ministry would solicit the participation of non-governmental and community-based organizations to facilitate the start of the initiative by providing community service opportunities to students under the programme, which will be supervised by UWI.
It said full-time students would be required to give 150 hours of approved community service per year, while part-time students would be asked to give 100 hours as a “token of appreciation in return for the tuition support being provided by Government from September of this year”.