80% of HLSCC students benefited from free tuition last school year
Hundreds of local students are benefitting from the Tuition Assistance Programme (TAP) at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC).
Responding to questions in the House of Assembly recently, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said: “In the Spring semester which began on January 7 and ended on May 31 2019, there were 528 students enrolled. Of that amount, 424 students received free tuition benefits.”
That figure represents some 80 percent of the student population last academic year.
The Education Minister said the TAP is a rule given by an executive council since 2006. The policy makes BVIslanders and Belongers eligible for free tuition.
The minister further said the college also extends free tuition to naturalized citizens.
Notably, all students are required to produce their original and current citizen document when applying for enrollment at the educational institution.
He explained that 62 students had Belonger cards, 190 had BVI passports, one had a naturalization certificate, and 171 had a United Kingdom passport with the BVI stated as their place of birth.
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80% of students receiving free tutition. This is a great deal. Is this sustainable? 20% of student body along with HLSCC and taxpayers carrying the operational cost. Shouldn’t the BVI meeting more of labour needs? Are these students taking advantage of the free education and leaving? This policy needs reviewing. I’m not averse to free education but it probably needs to be means tested. Students should have some skin in the game.
I do hope that the BVI maintains this policy well into the foreseeable future, let Barbados be your guide as to what happens in the economy of a country that reverse such a forward thinking, progressive policy.