Hike in university fees proposed
Budgetary shortfall cited

Stabroek News
May 23, 2003

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Faculty representatives and other key personnel at the University of Guyana unanimously supported a motion to realign student fees at a recent academic board meeting.

This realignment could result in students paying significantly more than the current $127,000 annual fee.

While the motion was proposed at the meeting by Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr Mark Kirton and seconded by Dean of the Faculty of Technology, Dr William Wilson, the motion was not crafted by the two individuals.

Stabroek News understands that the motion was a co-operative effort by the university to deal with the decline in its budgetary allocations.

A source told Stabroek News that because many were of the opinion that the motion was designed by the two heads, they had been forced to endure abuse from members of the public who had accused them of "taking away education from poor people children."

Speaking to Stabroek News yesterday, Dr Kirton said that in 1994 when the fee structure was first fixed at a rate of US$1,000 a year this was equivalent to $127,000.

He pointed out that since then there had been a depreciation in the Guyana dollar and the US$1,000 was now equivalent to almost $200,000.

Further, all costs at the university have risen including rates for telephones, lights and water. He added that his faculty was the largest in the university and it only had two telephone lines.

As a result, Dr Kirton said that they had asked the university administration to deal with the issue since it was becoming increasingly difficult to offer some of the basic programmes in the faculties.

He suggested that the government and the other major stakeholders such as the business community should make significant contributions to the university because they were benefiting from the institution's turning out of educated and employable students. He acknowledged that the university did come in for a lot of criticism but that some of this was unfounded, and legitimate grievances could be rectified should the budgetary allocation be increased.

He noted that it was still much more expensive to send a child to a private school in the city than the university.

Also, he said that the salary structure should be reviewed since the university should offer salaries that would attract and retain competent lecturers.

The motion has to go before the university's council and according to Dr Kirton this could be in another month's time.

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