In Trinidad, students at the campus of the University of the West Indies-St. Augustine blocked the gates to the institution demanding that they receive their grades from their exams last year. Lecturers have refused to file the grades as they protest the non-payment of an estimated TT$87 million (One TT dollar=US$ 0.16 cents) in arrears owed to them.
The West Indies Group of University Teachers (WIGUT) has said that the non-uploading of marks’ is still in effect “until a satisfactory response from Campus Senior Management is received concerning the payment of arrears in salaries”.
Public Relations Officer with the Students Guild, Nikoli Edwards, said that the estimated 18,000 students have been caught in the middle of a dispute between the lecturers and management. He said while the Guild had no issue with the payment owed to the lecturers “our issue is with using us as a bargaining tool.
“Outside of this present situation, we support the lecturers and we have made that clear to WIGUT,” he said, adding that the UWI administration “needs to do whatever they need to do to get the money to pay off these lectures. “But to say we are standing hand in hand with the lecturers during this time that is not the case,” he said. “We will not allow the lecturers to continue to hold us at ransom, to hold us hostage over grades because you have regional and local students who need their grades and their transcripts in order to access funding.” He said there were students who cannot return to Trinidad and Tobago “unless they get funding from their institutions….”
There had been media reports quoting Tertiary Education and Skills Training Minister Fazal Karim that the Trinidad and Tobago government had stepped in to pay the money owed. Karim said that senior officials of the ministry had met with WIGUT and the campus principal Professor Clement Sankat to address the matter. But Edwards said the Guild has received no official communication on that matter.
[. . .] The registration period for students has been extended to February 20 but Edwards said “this is not enough and will not ultimately fix the situation”.
For full article, see http://www.caribbean360.com/news/uwi-students-block-gates-protest-demanding-2014-grades