The ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has defended its decision to stop paying tuition fees for nationals studying at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Education Minister Ronald Jones, speaking at a public meeting of the party on Thursday night, said that at one stage, the Barbados government had to pay an estimated BDS$162 million”.
UWIHe said that this was “more than we were giving all the secondary schools combined, more than we were giving the three or four tertiary institutions combined, more than we were giving for nursery and primary education combined because it is a high cost area.
“When the crunch came and we thought fought through, year after year after year, and we were having residual debt to the university that at one time reach BDS222 million,” he told supporters.
Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Chris Sinckler, in his 2013-14 budget presentation said that effective 2014 Barbadian students pursuing studies at the university’s three campuses will be required to pay their own tuition fees, while the government continues to fund economic costs.
Sinckler said the tuition fees range from BDS$5,625 to BDS$65,000 (One Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents) and that the new policy would reduce the transfer to UWI by an estimated BDS$42 million a year.
Sinckler had said that the Freundel Stuart administration “remains committed to, and fully supportive of, the continued growth and development of UWI Cave Hill and increased access to tertiary education for Barbadians”.
The main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has already indicated that should it win the May 24 general election, it would repeal the position taken by the government.