Two weeks ago, the University of the West Indies (UWI) Guild of Students threatened to protest if GATE officials did not pull up their socks and have the outstanding applications processed on time for students to be able to resume classes in the new semester. However, three weeks into the semester many students still have not been given the required clearances from the university due to holds on their accounts arising from pending GATE application approvals.
In an interview with Guardian Media, acting president of the Guild Teshanna Mohammed indicated that the council would decide on the next step when registration ends later this week.
“Protest is always our last resort and February 7 is about a week away. We would like to give GATE office the benefit of the doubt to ensure that applications are processed.”
However, she did not rule out the option.
“We as a Guild would always stand with our students and we’ll take whatever necessary action is needed,” she said.
While she said there were still instances of outstanding applications, she indicated that she was not in the position to give an exact figure of the students affected.
On January 15, Guild president Justin Subero described the situation as “chaotic and mass confusion” to Guardian Media. He also said students have been in a state of “panic and worry” because they are unable to register for their courses. Many of them are final year students.
He also said if the issue wasn’t rectified by January 20 when classes resumed, they would take protest action.
However, the Head of the Funding and Grants Administration Division, which is charged with the responsibility for the management of the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses Programme (GATE) under the Ministry of Education subsequently the Guild and UWI, said that it is working to complete outstanding applications from students.
In a release, the ministry explained the delays in the processing of GATE application were as a result of the provision of stale-dated financial information, omissions in household income and submission of incorrect documents as proof of income and staff constraints.