Students to stage “walk out”

first_imgUGSS President,Devat RamroopThe University of Guyana’s (UG) decision to hike tuition fees is not sitting well with the University of Guyana Students’ Society (UGSS), which has planned a walk out on Friday to voice their concerns over what has been described as the “unlawful charges”.This was revealed by the President of the UGSS, Devat Ramroop, in an interview with this publication on Wednesday. She said that the students will be walking out of classes at 16:10h.“It’s not a protest, it is a walk out. A walk out meaning we’re just pausing all activities for 10 minutes and assemble on the tarmac and we go back to class after 10 minutes. It’s just a statement to say that we don’t think business should go on as usual.”Ramroop explained that the University has been hiking tuition fees much to the dislike of the students. She said that most persons who attend the University are already under a lot of financial strain and increasing the fees would mean that some students may be forced to drop out.Single parents, the UGSS President added, will also be forced to adapt their budgets just to ensure that their children complete their studies and hopefully find a job amidst reports of the high unemployment rate.“So 2017 we had a 15 per cent increase, then in 2018 we had 10 per cent and now in 2019 we’re having another 10 per cent,” she complained.According to her, these increases were approved by the governing bodies in 2015 for the three consecutive years that followed.She said she hopes to send a message on Friday to both the Government and the administration of the University that they cannot continue “business as usual”.Furthermore, the UGSS President said that they are gathering young people to raise their voices on this issue so that the strain can be less on both parents and students who attend the University.She added that the UGSS has already met with some 5000 youths, who have responded positively towards calling for free tertiary education, adding that she is hoping to gain about 20,000 more in support.The student body’s request for free tertiary education comes at a time when UG is bracing itself for a financial audit into spending as it has been accused of lavish disbursements in insignificant areas.Guyana Times spoke with several students at the University just recently who said that they believe that the financial audit is long overdue.Another student complained that while tuition fees are being increased, students are forced to work in hot classrooms and use filthy washrooms.In the meantime, this publication was told that the Auditor General’s Office has already commenced the preparation stages to kick-start the audit.The University of Guyana Workers’ Union had first requested a financial audit into the spending of the University as it is allegedly unable to properly account for its expenditures and more so, offer a salary increase to its staffers, although tuition fees have been increasing annually.In a release to the media, UG Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith had revealed that the Ministry of Education, in a recent letter, advised of a request made to the Auditor General’s Office for a special audit. Notwithstanding the Union’s gripe with his administration, Griffith claimed to welcome the move for an audit into UG’s finances.“The administration welcomes the opportunity to clear the air on the allegations and assertions by the Unions and other individuals…We have long indicated such, both directly to the UG Unions and in my two recent memoranda to the University community,” he said.Griffith has already defended the institution’s financial position saying that monies went towards upgrading the infrastructure, among others. (Davina Ramdass)last_img

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