Categorized | National News

COBUS Irate Over Gov’t COB Cuts

Members of The College of The Bahamas’ Union of Students (COBUS) are irate over the government’s decision to cut funding to the college, which could possibly result in the hike of tuition cost for students.

President of COBUS Ernesto Williams claims that the government, in a letter dated late December 2012, announced that it will be cutting subsidies to the college by 10 per cent within the 2013-2014 period, 25 per cent between 2014 and 2015, and up to 45 per cent within a five-year period.

According to Mr. Williams, this cut will undoubtedly have an effect on the students as tuition costs are expected to rise; a move he says does not resemble of a progressive government.

“How in the world can the government agree to cut higher education? Two things you never cut in a nation are education and health care. Those are pivotal to any nation and if you cut those, you are very well making those parts of society even more susceptible to anything disastrous,” he said.

“When the government (then Opposition) was campaigning for the 2012 general elections, they came with everything in the book about education. Even in their charter of governance and over the microphone at rallies noted that they’d be doubling the investments in education and they’d be focusing greater on youth. They kept saying they believe in Bahamians but now they’re cutting the subvention for the college in that now students are going to end up facing the burden?”

Mr. Williams told acknowledged that the country is facing hard times economically but still stressed that this should be no reason for government to reduce the amount of funding it places into higher education.

The COBUS president said that the government’s decision to do so does not take into consideration what should be the foundation of ethics, morals and values of this country.

“This autocratic, visionless attempt to cripple the national institution, which has been working on the mandate to move to university for years now, is perplexing and terrifying. This may be the straw to finally cripple our national ability to educate our own citizens,” he said.

“There is almost complete unanimous agreement among middle managers, students, faculty, and staff at COB, that senior administration’s currently proposed plan to increase student tuition, to align contact hours with credit hours with no regard to the implications this may have, to orchestrate a discontinuation of programmes with national agenda, and to instill a moratorium (suspension) on new programmes without research and data, is shortsighted and ill-informed.”

“In an institution of higher learning, and in such a crisis, it is clear that the current management and leadership style at the college has greatly deteriorated over the past years from the vision of Sir Lynden Pindling and Livingstone Coakley to the chairmanship of the college council, Bishop Michael Eldon and the wise leadership that President Emerita, Dr. Keva M. Bethel, first instilled,” he added.

Mr. Williams noted that he has inquired with the President as to how this decision would affect financial aid to some of the students that needed, however, he says she replied, “I don’t know,”

The COBUS president also added that several attempts to meet with Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald have been disrespectfully rejected and postponed. However, the union of students will continue their fight in informing students and the entire community.

An open forum will be held at Independence Park on COB grounds Tuesday February 19, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the issue.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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