The Cost of Scholarship

tertiary_educationThe BU household continues our focus on education by reproducing today’s Barbados Advocate editorial – Barbados Underground

It does not come entirely as a surprise to us that the public discourse surrounding the requirement that Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies (UWI) pay twenty percent of the economic cost of tuition fees for their degree programmes still lingers on more than a year after the introduction of this initiative.

After all, there are many Barbadians who still regard taxpayer-funded University education, at least at UWI, as an irrevocable civic entitlement bequeathed to the nation by former Prime Minister and now National Hero, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, who envisioned it as one of the building blocks that would enable us to move rapidly from a collection of villages into a nation “punching well above its weight”, as we had come to be described at one time.

On the other hand, there are those, perhaps of equal number, who, for several reasons, consider that the requirement for students to pay fees for a UWI education is long overdue and very much in current order.

Among these reasons is what we choose to term the “just deserts” principle that entails the current cohort being required to pay principally because their predecessors wasted a good thing and spent many years, at the taxpayer’s expense, engaged in studies that should have been concluded much earlier. Had these wastrels not been permitted to be so lax in their intellectual pursuits, the state would have had more means today to provide education to a greater number of citizens.

Another is that, in any event, the new financial order does not permit any entitlement so lavish as universal tertiary education free at source for a “scrunting” third world nation, when some major world powers elect not to guarantee this benefit at all, despite their ostensibly greater access to financial resources.

As a corollary to this, there also exists the notion that little more than a sound secondary education is required for democratic citizenship and that tertiary education should be viewed rather as an investment that the individual makes in himself or herself with the expectation that it will return sizeable dividends in future by way of more substantial remuneration in one’s career.

Earlier this week, the debate was further joined by one former educator, Senator Alwin Adams who advanced the thesis, as is reported in the headline story, “Pay the Cost,” published in the Barbados Advocate for Tuesday, December 6. According to the report, in his written contribution to a recently launched publication, “Barbados: Fifty Years of Independence”, Senator Adams posits the view that university students should pay fees, although at the same time he issues the rider that every student who qualifies should be granted admission to the University.

This apparent paradox illustrates the national dilemma perfectly. We are anxious not to disenfranchise the poor bright boy or girl who has always been there in our educational culture; yet we recognize that it is no longer financially feasible or sustainable to continue the phenomenon of state-provided, taxpayer-funded university education for the numbers that now claim entitlement.

The self-evident solution is clearly a financial one. Whether through directed state funding by way of bursaries or scholarships; through tax incentives or through delayed repayment of student loans, a means must be found to ensure that our best brains are not deprived of an exposure that might inure ultimately to the benefit of themselves and the country because of the prohibiting cost of scholarship.

The current governing administration has already made significant headway along this path by creating additional bursaries based on household need. In this context, the major difficulty appears to be simply a lack of awareness of the existence of this recourse by those that might profit most from it.


  • Student Revolving Loan Fund (Barbados)



    By that initiative ( the requirement that Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies (UWI) pay twenty percent of the economic cost of tuition fees for their degree programmes), our Nation will lose generations of possible potential professionals. It also stands to deny native aspirants of a raised standard of living, lose future innovators, technocrats and nation builders. What you have done has stopped those well on the path of achievement, created empty classrooms and unemployment.

    On the other hand what you have done is to allow another university to drop out the sky, give opportunity to financial enterprises to create new loan accounts, increase the student revolving loan fund base, only accessible by the qualified, Placed pressure on those committed to fulfilling their dreams to seek other revenue avenues.

    What you have done has blown the hopes and dreams of the students at the secondary school level to further their education, those who are struggling under such “harsh economic conditions”.

    What you have done has made the expansion of UWI a mockery of foresight…
    it is a “state-provided, taxpayer-funded university”, then why the hell shouldn’t the TAXPAYERS CHILDREN benefit from free education, the initiators of this exercise surely did exploit such an opportunity but listened to jealous rhetoric from those who would have this country come to it knees for want of control of it systems and people.

    What you have done in promoting the narrative “no longer financially feasible or sustainable” in convincing the collective consciousness that it is so was false and misleading, it was not the case when expansion of the plant was being undertaken. ANYONE CHALLENGE THE NARRATIVE? yet we see continual spending on the least important.

    We were progressing quite fine and woke one morning to hear the term
    “ECONOMIC DOWNTURN”, panic ensued, caution engendered the nation, then came the LIES the cutbacks, hoarding, layoffs, redundancies, restructurings, price gouging, closures, and austerity measures, et al…all in the blink of an eye (no pun intended) …full of negative actions and results
    “DROUGHT” another narrative, yielded water woes to this day and continually, for what?
    desalination plants? new island-wide water meters? another reason to seek out multi million dollar loans?
    or acquire the UN’s $40mil water management money grant via Agenda 21? …all at the demise of consumers, nature surely challenges this one.
    “CLIMATE CHANGE” deemed a phenomena will unravel itself, it is not what they want you to believe, ultimately it a carbon emissions tax they’re after among other things.
    “SEA LEVEL RISNG” ……..
    $80MIL contributions per yr per nation …are you a benefactor?

    When we see our Nation as sovereign again, none of this will matter.
    The Minister of Education quite recently made statements to the brevity of International Protocol on the executing of good intent on the nation as well as OCA made reference to the power of consensus.
    Be guided accordingly.


  • Joe "Bobby" Alleyne

    What cost of scholarship what?

    Is there ONE SINGLE postgrad in Craibbean Trade Law’s class who is not being financed by an albino brass bowl?


  • The question is: Who wants to remove the free tertiary education? It seems to me that the head ones who benefitted from the free tertiary education are the ones who want to get rid of it! Why are we paying so many taxes through our noses? It’s nothing but a case of the crabs in the bucket. Little by little all of the safety nets for the poor, the needy and the vulnerable have been dragged down in the last years, but we have millions to give to people like Sandals for forty years in concessions – including free water. Taxes should be used for the benefit of the populace of this country. Home drums should beat first!


  • The country cannot afford it. We have invested heavily in education but we are not productive, our people have not taken control of our businesses -practically all foreign own.

    The government gave concessions to Sandals NOT cash.


  • All of the teachers who are Graduates through the free education from Nursery to Tertiary now turn around and allowed 180 students from a school not named to fail their CCSLC exams by not correcting the SBAs. I said in a post back in time that the Barbadians students will all fail if their SBAs are not corrected and submitted. If Trinidad, Jamaica and Guyanese teachers are correcting SBAs as part of their job why would CXC pay Barbadian teachers


  • What is it that the country cannot afford?… we do see what they can afford.
    …”we are not productive”.. yet we pay the same amount of tax every month for doing what?
    …. we would be more in control of business if only we were taught and harness to do so with the financial support.


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