JIS News

The Government will be putting measures in place to assist tertiary level students, who may be de-registered for non-payment of fees in September, as a result of the pending freeze on tertiary subsidies.
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, making the announcement at yesterday’s (March 3) sitting of the House of Representatives, informed that the assistance will be provided through the Student Loan Bureau, with grants or separate provisions given to the universities to address those students in need.
“We have already made that kind of accommodation for those students. How we distribute whatever benefit we give has to be done on a means tested basis,” he said, noting that this is the procedure used in awarding grants and benefits to tertiary institutions.
In 2009/10, the University of the West Indies received a grant of approximately $7 billion with a proposed allocation of $6.7 billion for the financial year 2010/2011. The University of Technology was allocated $1.9 billion for the 2009/10 fiscal year and a projected budget of $1.8 billion is expected for the 2010/11 financial year.
Minister Holness told the House that tertiary institutions have been issued a strict directive to keep the expected tuition fee increases in line with inflation.
“The present economic situation that we find ourselves in will dictate that we would not be able to increase in any significant way or at all, the funding to tertiary institutions. Students will face an increase in their fees, but we have said to institutions that any increase must be in line with inflation,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Education Minister said that a detailed submission is to be presented to Cabinet in April on the Strategic Policy and Plan for Tertiary Sector in Jamaica. He explained that the strategic plan will establish a Commission to regulate and give oversight to the tertiary sector.
Responding to questions raised by Opposition Member of Parliament, Maxine Henry-Wilson, Mr. Holness stated that the growth of the tertiary education sector now demands increased regulation and oversight.
Mr. Holness explained that public consultations were done between 2006/07 to inform the formation of the commission.
“Consultations have also been done with tertiary students and the University Council of Jamaica. The concept paper will also be made available on the Ministry’s website. During the course of designing the Commission, further consultations will be done,” he indicated.

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