Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Tuition freeze to restore public faith in UWI - Guild President

Published:Saturday | March 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines

President of the Guild of Students at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus, Mikiela Gonzales, has said that the decision taken on Tuesday by the UWI to have a tuition freeze for the 2017-2018 academic year is one that will renew public faith in the tertiary educational institution.

Though the final announcement is to be made by the UWI Council in April, Gonzales says the guild and student body remain optimistic and have labelled the commitment given as a victory.

She told The Gleaner: "If the average Jamaican person earning minimum wage were to save all of their money for an entire year, they would still not be able to afford a university education for themselves or child, and that speaks volumes. We can't say that we want to give persons an opportunity and then rob them of that very opportunity; we are creating an illusion. When the vice-chancellor made the declaration of the intentions to freeze tuition for the upcoming year, we appreciated this as we believe it sent the message that this is not just about the money, but rather the development of our people."

Gonzales also added that with

inefficiencies in several key areas of the institution, students would like to see great improvement prior to fee increases.

"There are many areas of concern on the campus, but primary among them is the shortage of security. Other issues include overcrowded classrooms, lack of equipment in classrooms, the inefficiency of the bursary and a lot of other day-to-day problems. So, as students, we don't feel like we're getting value for our money," she expressed.

In citing occurrences where students have been subjected to robbery attempts and invasion of personal spaces, the guild has since led a self defence initiative to equip students with the necessary training to protect themselves.