Whoi! Bangrang in d place! Changes are afoot and ahand!
So I shouldn’t be as excited as I am about what I am writing about tonight but I must be real and declare that hearing that Barbados now has to require their students to pay tuition starting 2014 made me feel a bit smug initially.
I am Jamaican but this was significant to me because I had to spend two years at UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados to complete my Bachelor of Laws program and while I am so grateful to that island for the growth and memories I experienced while I was living there, I won’t pretend that it was all easy or fun. It was a huge strain financially and I learnt humility and sacrifice in ways I never imagined I’d have to but ways I’m still grateful for.
I think my smugness came from being on the receiving end of the lack of empathy from Bajan students/colleagues who could not grasp why budgeting, finding deals/cheap suppliers of what you need and “going without” was an essential part of surviving the time in Barbados as a student. They were coming from a place of privilege and many came with a stank attitude. Attacks about the state of my country’s economy were pretty popular in day-to-day debates and the free tertiary education given to Barbadians was a trump card that got played often in discussions about this. It would hurt sometimes because of the insensitivity with which it was delivered, not because it was indeed fact. All I can say now is let’s hope your economy stands up to this challenge. We won’t be helping you send your kids to school for free while ours struggle to get by anymore!
Then someone asked me why was I happy about this news and if it somehow meant that tuition would be cheaper for Jamaicans. It brought me down off my malicious cloud and I rid myself of the feeling of gloating. I will say though, that I saw this coming. With UWI, Mona, Jamaica and UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad having their own Law faculties, the need for Jamaican and Trinidadian/Tobagonian students to leave home and spend up to triple the amount they would spend to study the same at home, was becoming non-existent; I thought it would take about 5 years for this to happen, however, based simply on the fact that Barbados prided itself on this. Alas, it happened sooner than I expected and now we just have to watch and see the resulting consequences.
Hopefully one day, countries, especially in the Caribbean will value education enough and make provisions for the intellectual (formal and informal) advancement of their people so that free education will again be a given for all Caribbean nationals. So much greatness is delayed or blocked in life because the minds which are to conduct them are inside the bodies of people who cannot afford to get the credentials required to have them be viewed as qualified and accumulate the platform needed to spread their knowledge/art.
Until this happens, I’ll just be grateful I made it through with minimal bruising and that most of my Bajan friends won’t get the brunt of this blow and hope sincerely that this change doesn’t decrease the realization of potential of Barbadian nationals.
Oh, a friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook and this was related to the change and I found it pretty funny.
Too soon? Welp!
Until next post!
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