On Friday, September 30, when the University of Guyana announced that it will be increasing its tuition fees for minimalist courses offered by the nation’s single most important tertiary education institution, there was an uproar. And rightfully so.
Here is the message that was sent to the current students at the institution via email.
“The University administration informs the University Community that the Finance and General Purposes Committee of the University had approved an annual 5% increase in the tuition fees effective for 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 Academic Years.
The annual tuition fee for the 2016/2017 Academic Year is therefore $168,000 instead of $160,000.
The University regrets any inconvenience caused, and wishes to advise that all invoices will be amended accordingly. The difference, without penalty, becomes due and payable on or before November 15, 2016
The facilities fee remain unchanged *($50,000).
No one wants to pay 5% more for their education when that money could be used elsewhere right and especially on such short notice? Gotcha. Of course your complaints are well and justifiable.
Given that our economy is small and an additional $8000 to your tuition is something that you really can’t afford when all else is considered.
What’s more, the facilities at the University are trashy and you don’t think that it is worth $168,000 per semester. Which is about 20% more than what was paid in 2014. Inflation cannot be that bad can it?
But here’s why you should shut up and actually do something about your concerns.
1) Since time immemorial, the University of Guyana Student Society has been raising concerns about the state of affairs at the institution. They even held protests that stretched out for months.
And what was the reward? A few cosmetic changes here and there. Nothing concrete but the protests stopped and everyone returned to study in their far less than optimal conditions.
The protests failed to result in anything substantial because out of the 7000+ students attending the University, on no given day were there over 500 students protesting.
The protests failed because of student division and the fact that most of the students would rather not face the wrath of the sun and let their concerns be heard.
How else does one explain your absence? None of you work 24 hours a day.
2) UGSS had elections less than 72 hours ago. How many of you, the student body, were there to vote? Poor turnout? You don’t say.
3) Many of you are stuck in this reality where you will complain via several updates on Facebook but really, other than your friends, do you really expect to reach UG’s administration via Facebook? Many of you complain on Facebook but won’t do anything else.
4) If you want better services at the University, don’t you think that it is well and fair that the University’s administration take your demands for better services and respond accordingly with the tuition increases? Or do you think your current fees are enough to pay for University.
None of this should go as saying that the increase is warranted but if you are against it then be all out against it. Passivity never put anything but bread on the table. And you’re fighting for more than bread correct? Not to trivialize your concern but you do want more?
So until you turn out in colossal numbers and let the administration know that you, its single most important stakeholder, will not be accepting any form of mediocrity from UG, then your social media cries will fizzle like soda poured into a glass and left overnight then taken for granted.
Further, don’t protest for one day. Do it as long as it takes for them to realize that you mean business.
So humbly, of course, it should be insisted that if all you are going to do is complain on social media you need to STFU if not “do not go gentle into that good night…rage…rage against the dying of the light.”