UG Council agrees to phased hike of tuition fees

The University of Guyana (UG) Council on Thursday agreed to increase tuition fees for students over the next three academic years.

UG Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith confirmed to Stabroek News that the increases, which were proposed by the UG administration, were approved by the Council at the meeting.

The University of Guyana Students’ Society (UGSS) Public Relations Officer Christina Basil, on the organisation’s Facebook page yesterday, said the decision was taken after a seven-and-a-half-hour-long meeting of the Council at the Turkeyen Campus.

The Council, including UGSS President Ron Glasgow, met to discuss the UG budget for the 2016/2017 academic year.

“The Council has agreed (excluding UGSS President) on an increase of 15%, 10%, and 10% over the following three academic years (2017/2018, 2018/2019, 2019/2020, respectively),” Basil said.

She added that Glasgow was presented with the actual UG budget, which showed that the institution was operating at a projected deficit. She said the relevant documentation will be made public to all students shortly.

“Students, please be assured that the UGSS administration did not go down without a fight against the tuition increase. At present, we are still wholly against the increase, but the reality is, it is now out of our jurisdiction,” she added, while noting that UGSS was cognisant of the economic hardships faced by majority of our students.

“The UGSS, as promised, will be aggressive with the UG Admin with respect to accountability and transparency of all monies spent. We are asking the students to stand behind us so we can continue our fight for better standards, better services, and better facilities across campus,” Basil added.

Students of the Turkeyen Campus had staged a protest on Thursday against the plans for the phased tuition fee hikes.

The protest was held outside the Education Lecture Theatre, where the University Council met.

Basil had said then that there was little to no consultation from the university’s senior administration on the increase.  “They were not properly communicating with us and thus we were put on the spot,” she had explained.

Students had said that the university should raise the standards at the institution, including the facilities before asking for a raise in tuition fees.

Meanwhile, the demands by the University of Guyana Workers’ Union (UGWU) and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA), which also staged protests for a start to the negotiation of salaries and wages, was also discussed at the council meeting on Thursday.

However, when Stabroek News spoke with president of UGSSA Jewel Thomas yesterday, she said that representatives for the unions had not yet reported on what was said and a meeting will be held today to do so.

A well-placed source, however, told this newspaper that the UG administration was urged at the council’s meeting to speak to the unions on negotiations.

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