Fri | Sep 22, 2017

UTech reports financial struggles to parliamentary committee

Published:Tuesday | October 18, 2016 | 10:13 PM

The University of Technology (UTech) has told the Jamaican Parliament that it is struggling financially.

In a report to Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), UTech says there is a persistent financing gap and the University had an operational deficit in six of 10 years, from 2005-2015.

It notes that, UTech is the tertiary institution which receives the least financial support from the Government on a per capita basis.

UTech says its last audited financial statement from 2014/2015 showed that there was an operating deficit of $288 million compared to a deficit of $210 million in the previous year.

The University says an operating deficit of $13 million is projected for this financial year and reflects the constraints facing UTech’s operations.

Of the 16 undergraduate schools, six are being operated at a loss as they do not generate enough income to cover the costs directly related to their operations and make no contribution to cover shared administrative expenses.

UTech says it’s not feasible to reduce expenditure as critical initiatives are already at risk.

UTech says while it could increase student fees to offset some of the expenses, it would make the institution a relatively high cost option for students.

Meanwhile, UTech says its budget has further taken a hit because of the transfer of some training functions from the ministry of health.

The West Indies School of Public Health was transferred to UTech in 1995 and the Kingston School of Nursing, and the Dental Auxiliary School were also subsequently transferred.

UTech says additional resources were required under the mandate to upgrade these offerings to degree programmes, but the budgetary support for the programmes was not provided.

The UTech is predicting that some of these programmes may not be sustainable in the foreseeable future because of the financing issues.

It says a review of this matter was conducted by the Public Accounting Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Finance, but it does not yet have a copy of the report.