Wor­ry­ing over JAMVAT limbo

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

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

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