After completing the two-year Certificate of Education programme, students would usually continue reading for another two years to obtain a B.Ed.
However, they are angry that after registering to continue their studies those applications were cancelled and they were told to re-apply for the B.Ed programme- a move they said has resulted in more courses and higher tuition fees.
President of the University of Guyana Students Society (UGSS), Richard Rambarran said Vice Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyi has promised to hold further talks. “We would have made arrangement with the Vice Chancellor whereby we have to state the difference in the fee structure and consult with him once again in either reducing this fee, knocking out this fee completely or coming up with some sort of payment plan,” he told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com).
Students late Monday evening vented their frustration by picketing just outside the Faculty of Education. “No 3 Semester, No Summer Courses, No $36,000,” “We refuse to pay any extra fees,” , “We are doing four years, not five years, not acceptable” and “Only in Guyana things happen without student awareness.”
The students said their hopes to pursue an additional two years to acquire a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) have been dashed because they are now saddled with extra courses, a number of which are replicas of those that they would have already pursued.
Tuition fees, they said, have been hiked from GUY$127,000 per academic year to GUY$172,750.
At least 133 Third Year students across Nursery, Primary and Secondary programmes have been affected by the decision. One of the students said the first, second and final year students were unaffected.
They recalled writing a letter to the Vice Chancellor last semester but it was not until Monday (March 3, 2014) that they briefed the UGSS and held a meeting with him.
A student representative said Opadeyi wanted the students to provide evidence such as notes and assignments to prove that they had already pursued those courses. The Vice Chancellor, however, ruled out any changes being made to increased tuition fees. “He was very strong on the fees. He said that cannot be changed because we can afford it and he doesn’t see why we the programme, which takes three semesters, should be so cheap,”
“When the representatives came out of the meeting, we were told that the Vice Chancellor said he will not do anything about the fees, he will not do anything about the courses and there is nothing we could do about it. If we don’t like it, let us leave,” the student told DemWaves.
The UGSS President lamented the absence of consultations and planning with the students before the new system was implemented.