Mismanagement at UWI-Mona Campus

  • 9-11-2015

If there was any doubt about the abysmal level of indiscipline in our society one only has to look at the demonstration of some students on Monday April 30, 2012 at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).  It was reported that some students who had outstanding fees disrupted exams because they were prevented by the University’s administration from sitting. First I am making it clear that I sympathize with students who have the ambition and drive to further their studies but it should not be at the expense of lawlessness.

As far as I am aware in Jamaica there is no right to free tertiary education. Over the years when these students demonstrate about fees, it always seem that they think that because they are university students things must come to them on a silver platter.

So if fees are due and owing, who do these students expect to pay it for them? The University’s administration made a terrible blunder to allow students to attend classes all semester right up to exams with outstanding tuition. The administration may have thought that they were being lenient to allow students to do that with the expectation that they would honour their obligations in time for exams. It’s a case of giving them an inch and they took a mile. No one could have reasonably foreseen such a consequence wherein those barred from sitting exams stormed inside the exam room and prevented students who paid their fees, from sitting their exams. Where do they draw the line? How could students come on national television and say that it is an injustice to bar students from exams because their fees are not paid?  So isn’t it an injustice for those who complied and paid their fees to be prevented from sitting their exams?  Another student on camera said something to the effect that  barring them from exams for unpaid fees is not democracy, he needs to be reminded that demanding to sit an exam when your fees are not paid is not one for the freedoms of democracy, simply put that is DISHONEST.  A classic case of lawlessness in our society, which shows that lawlessness does not only emanate from the inner city but also from delinquent students at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. Chances are that these are the same students who likely will be a nightmare for the Students Loan Bureau when they graduate.

It is a reflection of the wider society; tenants don’t pay rent and yet they don’t expect to be evicted by their landlords, mortgage is unpaid yet delinquent borrowers don’t expect that the bank will put up their houses for sale, students don’t pay tuition yet they must sit exams and if they cannot sit exams then those who pay should not do so either. This is a dangerous state of affairs and the University should suspend for at least one semester all those who barged into the exam centre and disrupted the proceedings. Lawlessness must not be tolerated. The precedent would then be that students who pay their tuition now may refuse to pay next semester because they will then expect that they should   still be allowed to sit their exams just like their delinquent colleagues.

Likewise if your hall fees are unpaid then you ought to be evicted as if you don’t pay, then someone else has to pay it for you. One scenario could be that if halls fees go unpaid then incoming students could very well be faced with increased fees to cover the outstanding fees left the previous semester. We must look at the forest and not just the trees.

So, just like anything other commodity if you cannot afford it then do without, that is one of the  pillars that old time Jamaica was built on. It is the departure from values such as this why Jamaica is at the point here it is now.  It’s a tough position but unless we accept it like that, we are giving free reign for continued lawlessness.


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