UNC Youth Arm calls on gov’t to raise funding to UWI

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UNC Youth Arm calls on gov’t to raise funding to UWI

The National Youth Arm of the United National Congress has expressed deep concern over the recent protests by the West Indies Group of University Teachers (WIGUT) and the disruption it has caused in the lives of students at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

In a statement, they said they hold the Government of Trinidad and Tobago responsible for this situation, as it is the direct result of their cut in funding to UWI by 10% in June 2022 and the gutting of the GATE Program since they started their term in 2015.

“The current situation at UWI is alarming. The 10% cut in funding by the government by Minister of Finance Colm Imbert and Minister of Education Nyan Gadsby Dolly has left the institution struggling to pay their outstanding bills and to meet staff negotiations and provide quality education to its students. The eviscerating of the GATE Program has also resulted in low student enrolment, as many students just cannot afford the high cost of tuition,” according to the Youth Arm.

They added that, “We understand that staff members of UWI are frustrated and are taking action by protesting to demand better working conditions and compensation. However, we also recognize that these protests have disrupted the lives of students, causing many to miss classes and fall behind in their studies.”

“It is unacceptable that the Gadsby-Dolly and this Government has allowed UWI to reach this point. The UWI is a critical institution in our country, and it is unacceptable to see it being set up for failure by the Government’s lack of policies. The UWI is not a luxury; it is a necessity for the growth and development of our nation’s youth. It is imperative that the Government invests in higher education, not only for the students currently enrolled but also for future generations. and it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that it has the resources it needs to provide quality education to our nation’s youth.”

The United National Congress National Youth Arm is now calling on the Government to take immediate action to raise the funding to UWI and restore the GATE Program to its previous state.

“We urge the Government to prioritize the education of our nation’s youth and recognize that education is an investment in our country’s future. We insist that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago take a cue from the Government of Jamaica, which has recently announced a 4 billion dollar increase in funding for the UWI Jamaica Campus.”

They said, “Failure to address this issue could result in a decrease in the quality of education at UWI, leading to more class disruption and protests by staff members.”

The United National Congress National Youth Arm said it stands with the students and staff of UWI and demands that the Government takes action to ensure that UWI has the resources it needs to continue to provide high-quality education to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.