Three days too long: UTech student body pushes for end to lecturer-Education Ministry impasse

Students from the University of Technology (UTech) staged a protest at the entrance to the Ministry of Education in Kingston earlier today (Photo: Dennis Brown)

President of the University of Technology’s (UTech) Students’ Union Kahlil Hutchinson says that while its discussions with the Ministry of Education were good, uncertainty still looms over the student population amid a lecturer strike at the institution.

Entrance to the Papine-based University of Technology (Photo: UTech.edu.jm)

Hutchinson, who spoke with BUZZ following a meeting at the ministry on Thursday – prompted by a peaceful protest by students encamped at its Heroes Circle offices just hours prior – noted with concern that a resumption of classes doesn’t seem likely, three days into the strike action, but he remains hopeful.

“Well, the minister was receptive, however, negotiations are still ongoing,” he said.

Hutchinson told BUZZ that while he feels interim Education Minister Karl Samuda is genuine with his push to resolve the matter in the quickest possible time, the students’ union understands that the duty rests solely on the Ministry of Finance.

Interim Minister of Education Karl Samuda (Photo: JIS)

“Minister [Samuda] explained that he can put proposals on the table, but the final approval is from the Ministry of Finance,” UTech’s Students’ Union President added.

Hutchinson further explained that the students’ union expects an update before end-of-day, after a series of meetings between the ministries of education, finance, and UTech’s staff.

“We’ll be updated by the end of the day, because not all parties involved were present, so a decision could not have been made there,” he asserted.

Students livid after three days without classes…

The ultimate goal of the students is simple, Hutchinson argued: a return to normalcy for UTech’s lecturers and the wider school ecosystem.

“We need our classes to be resumed. It’s three consecutive days without classes, now that doesn’t spell sense to any tertiary institution. The goal is to have the lecturers come off strike and to come [back] into classes,” Hutchinson told BUZZ.

The Students’ Union President advised weary students to keep abreast with updates on the situation come the end of Thursday.

The Heroes’ Circle headquarters of the Ministry of Education in Kingston (Photo: Dennis Brown)

“Stay tuned to the Students’ Union, ensure you come into our office, follow our social media platforms to get information. By the end of the day, we will have further information as to the outcome of the meeting. We’ll inform you of the procedures to take tomorrow,” he added.

UTech students stormed the entrance to the Ministry of Education in Kingston, staging a peaceful protest braving humid conditions on Thursday, October 31.

Voicing their concern with the current impasse between the Government and lecturers at the institution, dozens of students turned out with signs voicing their displeasure at the situation, which has escalated to the extent where classes have been suspended.