Hike in fees not a unilateral decision

The University of Guyana’s Student Society (UGSS) is threatening legal actions against the UG administration for what it calls a unilateral decision to increase some administrative fees. This was disclosed by the UGSS president, Mr. Norwell Hinds.

However, the UG administration is debunking that claim and has since published a statement to that effect.

“New administrative rates for the provision of services for prospective and current students and graduates at The University of Guyana were approved at a Special Meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC), on Thursday, June 1, 2017. The F&GPC is a statutory arm of the University Council. The Council itself includes representatives from the University of Guyana Students’ Society (UGSS), the Ministries of Education and Finance, the Private Sector, the Trades Union Council, civic bodies, the campus unions, and the Administration. The immediate past president of the UGSS participated in the meeting that approved the new fees,” the statement noted.

The Guyana Daily News spoke with UG’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, who reiterated the fact that immediate past president of the UGSS, Ron Glasgow, was part of the decision making process and therefore the decision was not a unilateral one.

However, the UGSS’s input on the F&GPC is very limited in terms of decision making and as such, there isn’t much that can be done in terms of chartering a way apart from what is being put forward by the UG administration.

Prof. Griffith also noted that it is only three categories of students that are affected by the increase, they are; those student who want to access certain services, prospective students and graduates.

The Professor is contending that the fees do not affect students unless there is a need to use the services, “you cannot expect services and not pay for it.”

The Vice Chancellor also said that the fees cannot take effect in 2017 because some of the services are accessible in 2018, such as, the application process, the Prof. went on to note that the Budget is for an academic year, August to May, but, it is managed January to December.

Past President of the UGSS, Ron Glasgow, noted that he was present at the meeting when the fees were increased, he is contending that a hard decision had to be made between the raising of tuition fees, which was done last academic year, or administrative fees, the later was chosen. He is also contending that the fees were not unilaterally agreed upon.

Current President of the UGSS, Norwell Hinds, told Guyana Daily News, that the council is building its case for the courts on the grounds that the fees are too burdensome to the students and that the fees should have taken effect last year because the budget period has ended, therefore it is not applicable. The University raked in some thirty nine million dollars with the previous fees, that figure is expected to jump to sixty million dollars with the new increases.

Many student are complaining about the poor services they are receiving from the University of Guyana and as such the increase in fees should match the services being provided. Several students on Friday told the Guyana Daily News that they have not received grades for some courses done last semester and it is unfair for the administration to increase fees and provide sloppy services.

Some students even noted that new buildings, AC, toilets and other physical amenities are secondary in todays’ fast pace development, more emphasis should be placed on things such as tutors, lecturers, curriculum, labs, timely relasing of grades, etc.

The UG students are calling for more to be done for the education they are paying so expensively for.

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