A WELCOME development has been announced in the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) Tuition Fees hike saga, which commenced with the school’s letter to parents and students on July 31 informing them of the increase: The school has scrapped that proposal following Government’s decision to inject $3 million dollars into the school’s coffers.
Senior Communications Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, Nicole McDonald, told The VOICE yesterday: “The government of St. Lucia has made the decision to immediately inject over three million dollars into the SALCC, to help alleviate some of the financial challenges and that decision is going forward.”
“Therefore, the College will in fact suspend increase in fees for this academic year 2018/2019.”
The news followed the mass resignation of members of the Board of Governors of SALCC after the cabinet of Ministers on Monday rejected the SALCC’s proposed fees increase.
However, first news of the emergency cash injection came in a Facebook post by Education Minister Dr Gale Rigobert, which also confirmed the suspension of the proposed tuition fees increase.
The issue has hugged the headlines since Monday’s Cabinet meeting, during which Mc Donald disclosed that Cabinet was seeking to roll-back the proposed 100% increase in tuition fees announced by Ms Combie.
Interestingly, SALCC has been quite withdrawn on the issue, with the college’s spoksepersons opting to remain mum on the main issues involved.
Chairperson of the Board Ingrid Floissac has been deafeningly silent on the issue, as have all other members of the former Board of Governors.
Initial reports were that the government has decided to substantially reduce the SALCC’s annual budget, resulting in the decision to double tuition fees, which the Cabinet of Minister felt was too awkward a recommendation to adopt.
The SALCC’s Board and Administration were summoned to this week’s Cabibnet meeting, where and when the proposed increase was rejected and the proponents instructed to ice their proposal.
Word of the Board’s resignation en masse was on the street within hours of Monday’s Cabinet meeting, the education Minister confirming on Tuesday that the board had decided to throw-in the towel collectively.
The government’s subsequent decision to pump $3M in emergency funds into the SALCC’s coffers has been welcomed by parents and guardians of students – as well as by students paying their own fees.
However, there is still no indication whether the $3m will take the SALCC through its next academic year (starting next month), or whether additional funds will be needed and provided to compensate for the substantial decrease in the college’s subvention for the 2018-19 Academic year.