Worrying over JAMVAT limbo
THE EDITOR, Sir: This is an open letter to Education Minister Ruel Reid. I AM writing on behalf of the students in my faculty and all the other tertiary students who heavily rely on funding from Jamaica Values and Attitudes for Tertiary Students (JAMVAT) to fund our tertiary education. Minister, we need your intervention.
I am appalled by the lack of transparency in this programme and the scant regard for the anxieties of tertiary students. I have been eagerly scouring the news for even a whisper of information about the programme: when it will commence, and why it is taking so long to get off the ground. It is the middle of the semester. We are roughly six weeks away from exams. This funding is critical, particularly for those who still have not yet covered their first-semester (2016-2017) tuition.
Approximately three weeks ago, the JAMVAT office emailed me and some of my colleagues to do an interview for the programme (even though we were returning students to the programme). They have failed to contact us after that. Numerous calls and visits to their new office have produced non-committal ‘just check back’ and nonchalant ‘if we don’t call you, you call us’.
I thought that the commencement of the interviews was the starting of the engine for the programme. We thought it was a light in the dark abyss of outstanding fees. But right now, it feels as if the programme has sputtered to an unnerving halt. What is happening with JAMVAT? Can I rely on the programme this year, or should I now be worrying for myself and my fellow colleagues? SIMONE TOWNSEND Student