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Caribbean News Today

UWI Principal laments low enrolment at university

Principal of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Eudine Barriteau Principal of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Eudine Barriteau
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sept 5, CMC – Principal of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Eudine Barriteau, is lamenting the low enrolment rate among the university’s male population, and is calling on men to invest in a university education.

Addressing the campus matriculation ceremony, Barriteau said women account for two-thirds of students. She said as of September 1, enrolment figures stood at 4,418 – 393 graduate students, and 4,025 undergraduate students.

“Of those numbers 33 per cent of the undergraduates are male and 67 per cent are female.  At the graduate level the percentage of men registered by September 1 to pursue higher degrees stood at 26.5 per cent, with women at 73.5 per cent.

“We will not compare ourselves with other campuses and we welcome all students who are registered.  However I want to appeal to young men in Barbados and the region to make the time to invest in a university education and reap a lifetime of benefits,” she said.

Barriteau also said that the removal of government subsidies has resulted in a drop in registration numbers this year, with more than half of successful applicants were unable to register for this academic year due to financial constraints.

Barriteau told the ceremony that of the 4,803 new applications received as of September 1, 2,478 were offered places and 1,537 accepted.

“Of the 1,537 that accepted the offer to study at Cave Hill, a total of 1,071 students have registered, 135 graduate and 936 undergraduates,” she said, noting that while this represents a high registration rate, the new students account for only 43 per cent of the potential students who were accepted.

She therefore called on the Freundel Stuart administration in Barbados to raise the threshold of the Higher Education Financial Grant from $25,000 to $35,000 per year.

Under the grant programme, students in household with income up to BDS$25,000 (One Barbados dollar =US$0.50 cents) per year qualify for full tuition, while those whose household income is between $25,001 to BDS$45,000 qualify for partial tuition.

“The Cave Hill Campus is in a beautiful location and Barbados offers comparative social, political and economic stability.  But the cost of living in Barbados is high and many persons with an annual household income of just over BDS$25,000 will still be struggling to make ends meet,” she said.

Just last week, other campus officials raised similar concerns over the enrolment figures.

The campus here has seen a drop in enrolment figures since 2014, following the decision by the Barbados government to require students to meet the full cost of their tuition.

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