Stop deregistering university students - Crawford
Opposition Senator Damion Crawford wants public universities to end the practice of deregistering students for non-payment of tuition. He made the plea in his first contribution to the State of the Nation debate in the Senate on Friday.
"This act can only be perceived, at best, as unnecessary, as there is no material benefit to the institution that they can derive by deregistering a student," said Crawford.
"While we can't tell private institutions what to do, any institution that benefits directly from the coffers of the Government should not be capable of withdrawing services from students for whom 60 per cent of the fees have already been contributed from the Government."
At the same time, more programmes are being introduced at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona with fees quoted in United States currency and without Government subvention. Tuition for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Law is US$10,000 per year, while medicine students are required to pay US$28,000 per year. Other publicly funded institutions include the University of Technology and the Caribbean Maritime University.
Crawford suggested to the Upper House that exam results should be withheld until "satisfactory" arrangements are made. Richard Goulbourne, president of the Mona Law Society at UWI, Mona, has an issue with Crawford's proposal. "If you're withholding grades on a consistent basis, then students would just be doing exams, but they wouldn't know their progress. In the context of a higher education, that's not necessarily good," said Goulbourne.
The senator also recommended the establishment of the Tertiary Education Trust in a push to allow student loan repayments to be extended over 25 years.