University of Guyana (UG) students will have to pay more to attend that tertiary institution from the next academic year, and salary negotiations will begin in the coming weeks, well-placed sources said late Thursday night.
Usually reliable sources said new students will have to pay an 18 percent increase in year one while continuing students will pay a total of 35 percent spread over the next three academic years- 15 percent, 10 percent and 10 percent.
The decision was taken by UG’s Council at a meeting that lasted several hours. The University of Guyana Students Society (UGSS) declined to provide details of the decision at the meeting at which its President, Ron Glasgow participated.
Sources said Glasgow urged the Council not to increase the fees especially for current students, but in the end the decision-makers opted for the hike, Major considerations included an unimplemented decision five years ago to bring the fees on par with the existing rate of exchange for US$1,000. When fees were first introduced in 1994, the exchange rate was GYD$127 to US$1.00 but since then the local dollar has depreciated to as much as GYD$230.
Three years ago, the Council had agreed to increase tuition fees by five percent annually but only for 2014-2015 academic year did the increase take effect.
UGSS Public Relations Officer, Christina Basil has said that if UG’s administration succeeds in implementing the increase, the student body would press for heightened transparency and accountability in how the funds are spent.
Council agrees to negotiate salary increases
The decision to increase tuition fees comes against the backdrop of industrial unrest by academic and non-academic staff for increased wages and salaries. In that regard, sources said the UG Council on Thursday gave into public demands by workers Thursday for the UG administration to negotiate for fatter pay packets.
Sources said Council did not decide on making an offer to the workers being represented by the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA).
The workers’ representatives had been clamouring for negotiations rather than imposed wage and salary increases. The UGSSA is worried about the institution’s ability to sustain increased salaries if they are pegged to a projected rise in the number students from other Caribbean countries.
UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith earlier Thursday told Demerara Waves Online News that the institution has been marketing itself in several Caribbea countries such as Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Lucia.