The concerns of tertiary students were elevated to matters of national importance as the UTech, Ja. Students’ Union President, Dimitri McGregor, met with Prime Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness to discuss issues affecting University students. During a courtesy call at the Office of the Prime Minister, McGregor, along with Professor Colin Gyles, Acting President of the University of Technology, Jamaica and Deputy President, Dr. Haldane Johnson raised a number of challenges.
Issue #1, which comprised Part 1 of this series, addressed the increasing level of violence against youth.
Issue #2 – Careers and Jobs
Prime Minister Holness expressed concerns as to whether the University of Technology, Jamaica is achieving its goal of offering programs which are appealing to the market. The Students’ Union President was quick to point out that the market itself needs to be more accommodating of non-traditional careers.
“The policy environment in Jamaica does not encourage pre-university students to go towards non-traditional careers. Most of the traditional jobs are already saturated and have already fulfilled their mandate in furthering the public good; we must now turn our attention to those non-traditional sectors and encourage their growth, as this will achieve the nation’s ultimate goal for development,” replied the Students’ Union President.
Both the Students’ Union President and Acting President of UTech, Ja. agree that the governmental subvention to the University needs to be increased. “As the country’s premiere national university, that has been charged with the mandate of achieving the country’s developmental goal, more funds need to be allotted,” believes McGregor.
The governmental subvention is a grant that is disbursed annually to assist the University with its operations. Funds obtained from the subvention is used to offset tuition, boarding, transportation costs as well as other operations of the University. Therefore, an increase in this grant would allow the University to invest more funds into the development of the campus and students.
Of all the tertiary institutions receiving this grant from the government, UTech, Ja. is allotted the smallest amount – $147,562 per capita, in comparison to Edna Manley College’s $691,945 per capita and UWI’s $492,558 per capita. This has further led to an outcry by the University’s administration that it is struggling financially and is requesting an increase in its