Features — 04 January 2013 — by Miriam Longsworth

University of Belize students are heated up over the government’s decision to stop paying subsidies and adding a $350 increase to tuition rates. The government stated that they can no longer provide the financial aid for the students, but some students are in strong opposition to paying an increment on tuition.

Hope Amad, Student Government President, Belmopan campus, said that he does not understand how the government could say that they cannot afford to help Belizean students further their education.

“The government is the richest in the country, the people don’t have money like that,” he said. “If they can’t help us, then who will? They want us to get an education, but won’t help us.”

Amad said that he has been writing to the Ministry on behalf of the students requesting that they reconsider the increase, but they have not received any response in favor of their demands. Their next step was to sign a petition, which begun in October 2012.

The fee increase will be imposed on students who are registering to start new programs at the University of Belize. Although this increase will not directly affect all returning students, they are still livid over the matter because they see it unfair for the ones who have to.

“It was signed by students who are already enrolled at UB, but they are still against it, although it will not affect them,” said Cordelia Belezaire, Student Government President, Belize City campus. “We believe that everyone deserves the right to an education, but we can’t get one if we can’t afford it.”

Belezaire said that she and her fellow schoolmates are not in support of the increase and are doing their part in hopes of preventing it.

Belezaire said that if the Ministry goes ahead with the increase, the students will continue to fight against it.

“We would continue writing to the Ministry, rallying against the government, doing what it takes for the right thing to be done,” she said. “If they increase tuition, the enrollment will decrease because a lot of students won’t be able to afford it.”

Amad said that they will not back down if the government really does stop paying the subsidies. He would not comment on what other plans of action the student government will decide to take if things do not go their way.

Amad’s only comment on that was that they would “like it to be a surprise.”


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