Students and staff of the Papine-based University of Technology (UTech) took to the streets, voicing their concerns about what they say is the small government subvention to the university when compared to other institutions across the island.
The lecturers are reportedly upset about their current salaries and classes may be abandoned for the day as the protest, dubbed #UTechBlackout, gets underway.
UTech’s students’ union had issued the call to students to wear black to show their discontent with the “disregard” the Government continues to show towards the university.
According to a release from the Integrity Action Movement at the university, the issue is not that the University of the West Indies gets the most per-capita subvention; it is that the UTech, when compared to other institutions, is ranked near the bottom of the chart.
“It is only fair that the national university of Jamaica receives more support from the Government,” the group argued.
“The issue of subvention allocations given to the institutions is one, which stems from previous years. Though promises have been made to address the situation, it still remains the same,” it said, calling on the Government to be more accountable in levelling the playing field for equal educational opportunities.
[Applause] we're out here today in an unprecedented move with this collaboration among the four unions the three South unions as Utah salute a CEO the UAW and the Students Union to show our frustration with this slow attention or lack thereof of the government in terms of the level of subvention support or financial support that we get as a National University and so we've come out today to show that enough is enough and we've been told and we've heard in the press that there are negotiations going on but we've been told this for since 2012 and so it has come to the point now where even the students are feeling the pressure because we are unable to provide the level of infrastructure support for the programs that we have been able to give academic excellence to the point where we have received university accreditation last year and so the students now say enough is enough you take does not deserve more this is no second hand but it came through from cabinet we were told that you Tech does not contribute enough to national development we do not do enough research that's what we were told and the last time that this went to cabinet we were told is that that's the response that was given and that there's not enough resources what we're saying is that this is an outstanding item since 2012 this is 2019 we have had serious levels of attrition as a result of this academic staff our best academic staff move elsewhere our best administrative staff move elsewhere especially persons who are new one coming in and not yet committed to the cause the person whoever men are people who have been that I had you take people from years and realized the importance of this you institution not just surviving but doing very very well we are too long in survival mode we have to if we see if if the subvention that the government gives us does not increase we are going to die in fact we are dying a slow death no as is because like I tell you all of our young staff high-quality staff move elsewhere when you look at the salary differential between ourselves and and and anybody else it is ridiculous our administrative staff for instance it is so awful it is so woeful and the salary scales are so tight it means that we will move up once five scales it may be up a thousand dollars it makes no difference it's ridiculous master's degree will take home for to 5060 thousand sixty thousand depending on the length of service because you move along the salary scale right and that's with a master's degree if you were to go into the private sector a staff an administrator with a first degree it's taking home I wanted a thousand dollars they are the same ones who have given us nursing and all of these other areas and then asking why have you grown so much and you have not told us that you have grown which means this is an argument that makes no sense and and all other kinds of things in which says listen keep the candle on the curl carry the fool a little further and we have been patient we have behaved as University persons are too but it becomes a time when it reaches to our crisis and what we're saying now is that this is a crisis as a result of that student union and all of the other unions within you Tech have come together and to say listen this is a crisis government you need to look at us you need to deal with this you need to sort this out right we have heard the government said that they have no funds but when they did the last supplementary estimate or whatever it was other person's got increase and we were still ignored this is a joke we are saying that listen we have been ignored we have suffered we have we have gone through where we have not gotten any increase and all of that we understand our role in national development you know the government doesn't seem to understand our role in international development and it's taking us for granted that we are saying no more it's like saying we need to be Lawal