Jamaica: UTECH students and staff protest over government funds granted to the institution

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Jamaica: UTECH students and staff protest over government funds granted to the institution

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Feb.20, CMC – President of the University of Technology (UTech), Professor Stephen Vasciannie, on Wednesday urged students and staff to remain patient as negotiations continue over the government subvention granted to the institution.

Vasciannie made the statement as students and staff, dressed in black, protested against what they say are inadequate financial support.

“Our view is that detailed, patient, careful negotiation will lead to a result that reflects the importance of the University of Technology and its employees to national development and economic growth,” Vasciannie told The Jamaica Gleaner.

He added that a proper adjustment of the subvention “will reflect an acknowledgment of fairness in industrial relations.”

Meanwhile, the trade unions representing the workers have also expressed support for the protest.

The University of Technology Academic Staff Union, the University and Allied Workers’ Union and University of Technology Administrative Staff Association want the government to urgently increase funds to support the University.

In a joint statement Wednesday morning, the unions said UTech had inherited government training programmes for nursing, mid-wifery, oral health and public health without the necessary infrastructure or financial support.

The statement added that the absence of adequate funding has imposed hardships and a difficult working environment for students and staff.

In response to the UTech protest, the Ministry of Education disclosed that Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke would meet with university representatives on Wednesday evening.

Education Minister Ruel Reid explained that the purpose of the meeting is to brief Clarke on the issues which triggered Wednesday’s protest.

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