???No education is absolutely free. Most of it is heavily subsidised by citizens of various countries.?????Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones stressed this last Friday, as he addressed the inaugural awards ceremony of the American University of Barbados (AUB), at its Wildey headquarters.

He pointed out to the over 25 awardees that there was value in paying for one???s own education. Recalling that last year, as a result of the financial difficulties Barbados was experiencing, Government took a decision to ask university students to make a contribution to their educational cost at the university, Mr. Jones said there was a lot of discourse as people had grown accustomed to the state/taxpayers funding education.

???Don???t fight??? Make that small contribution to your own development as a citizen of Barbados??? to the world through the presentation of a few cents to your own education,??? he said, as he reminded those gathered there were reasons for ???free education??? in the 60???s that aimed to move the country forward, particularly persons classified as ???poor???.

???These things can only continue when the resources are there for them to continue,??? he declared. Stating that for the AUB student it must also be a challenge, he added: ???Finding money in this age is no easy walk but it is a commitment to your own development that you are making. It is building that feeling of worth [and] of value. Some people call it self-esteem,[or] self-actualisation.

???But [it is about] building that up so when you relax after surgery or working on the ward or [in] your own establishment???you can think about what you have done and how you have achieved it – through your dint of hard work and your focus, and through your own financial contribution to this effort.???

As he commended the university on the diversity of its students, the Education Minister said: ???Long will that continue??? diversity in educational offering to citizens who will come from India, Nigeria, Canada or the United States of America or from wherever they may come. You stand essentially on the front line as medical persons making a difference.???

Awardees were lauded for their achievements and Mr. Jones assured the AUB that Government would continue to work with the university to ensure it achieved its objectives. He added that that there was interest in the expansion of the facility and the Education Ministry was ???looking even beyond what was [already] found to find the acreage??? that would allow for ???environmental calm???.


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