By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Jacob Opadeyi today [Wednesday, August 13] threatened to shut down the University in the second week of the semester if the Ministry of Finance continues to be unresponsive in dealing with the issues of student loans to ensure students gain access.
At a press conference, Professor Opadeyi explained that this is plan ‘B’ for the University’s administration, since it will now await a formal word from the Ministry on the matter.
He made it clear that the University will not offer its services only to those who can pay but prefers to close its doors to all. When asked if this was a unilateral decision, he responded “I am the CEO”.
He reiterated that the University survives on a month to month basis and needs the student’s tuition fees to cover its expenses.
“The real issues that confronts us today is the uncertainty that about the access to the student loan for our students, up till this afternoon the student loan office is not able to make a statement whether student loans is available for students or not, right now registration has started and this may impact on our ability to actually go into operation for this academic year.”
On April 16, the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For change (AFC) joined forces to cut the Ministry of Finance’s capital programme under which a number of developmental programmes and initiatives fall including an allocation of $450M for the provision of loans to students of the University of Guyana.
Meanwhile, President of the University’s Student Society Joshua Griffith, expressed frustration on behalf of the 40 percent of students who benefit from the loan as their only means of gaining tertiary education.
Opadeyi also explained that the new facilities fee of $50,000 will have to be paid by all students and can be paid in two parts during semester One and Two of the academic year 2014/2015. He noted that the monies will be used for visible changes around the University’s surroundings.
He also made it clear that Government was adequately consulted before the increase was made to tuition fees and does not see why the Finance Ministry has to take this long to make the necessary adjustments.
“The UGSS is therefore calling on the relevant authorities to be responsive to the question of student loans, student loans affects students from both Turkyen and Tain campuses and it is not a position that students to be in, this level of uncertainty,” Griffith said.
Recently the University consulted a number of stakeholders in an effort to increase fees and said the response was positive.
Firstly, we are living in 2014 not 1980.
Secondly, the opposition was forced to cut entire sections of the budget because of the ruling of Chang CJ in which he pronounced that the opposition could not cut the budget line by line but rather is only allowed to cut part or the entire budget.
That is the reason why they we’re forced to cut a major parts of the budget.
Thirdly, the actions of the finance Minister was in direct contravention of Article 217 of the COnstitutions which sets out the circumstances in which money could be withdrawn from the consolidated money.
Opposition my damn foot! We all know it was the PPP/C’s DELIBERATE MOVE to put student loans as a budget item in a place it shouldn’t be, hence the opposition’s decision to cut! The opposition isn’t against students taking loans. The PPP/C needs to fix what they have done! Why would the opposition deliberately target loan students? Stop spreading PPP propaganda. Y’all nah gon win next election. Nobody wants the shitty PPP anymore. 20+ years is ENOUGH.
Joshua Griffith ought to know that the opposition parties (PNC aka APNU and AFC) are the ones who are responsible for this mess. Khemraj Ramjattan, a leader of the AFC, filed a complaint with the police against the Minister of Finance for alleged “misuse of funds”. This learned attorney is hoping that the Minister will be charged.
Joshua, get your fellow students and picket the homes and offices of members of APNU and AFC. As head of the UGSS you should’ve already mounted several of these protests. The Society held several protests in the past for a range of other grievances. Why not now??
Closing the doors of UG is not a “first”. In the early 80’s the University was closed for 3 months by the bankrupt PNC Government. The same PNC and its cronies will cause it to happen again.