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Blows for UWI over Gate registration chaos
The University of the West Indies (UWI) has come in for some criticism from the Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training for not putting enough measures in place to ensure a smooth process for the new Gate (Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses programme) e-Service registration. In a statement on Monday the Ministry highlighted that UWI, had not utilised its trained staff to accommodate students on Saturday or after hours.
It said that led to panic among students seeking to register for the new Gate e-Service before a February 21 deadline, which was later extended to March 14. The new system seeks to weed out people who abuse the system and those described as “programme hoppers.” “It should be noted that there is no deadline for registering for a Gate e-Service ID,” adding the March deadline was for course registration.
However, a media release from UWI on February 20, contradicted that, as it advised students the deadline for registration for the new Gate e-Service was extended to March 14. The ministry also said students at UWI were registering for unapproved programmes.
“By letter dated, 28th February, 2013, UWI, St Augustine was advised by the (Ministry) to ensure that all programmes which were not previously Gate funded must be formally Gate approved by the (Ministry). To date, there are programmes that have not yet been approved for Gate funding. Students will not be able to access Gate funding for such programmes unless Gate approval is confirmed,” it was stated.
But in response, UWI’s university and campus director at marketing and communications, Dawn-Marie De Four-Gill said “all courses were Gate-approved.” She said she had not seen the ministry’s statement from Monday, but added: “There are no programmes as far as I know that don’t offer Gate.” Second-year economics student Natalya Rahamatula said the extension of the February 21 e-Gate registration deadline was helpful, and offered an “ease up” for students.
She said post graduate students had to register as well, which meant the volume of students was too much for the previous deadline. Dr Camille Samuel, vice-president of Student Affairs at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of T&T (Costaatt), another tertiary-level institution required to adopt the new system, confirmed it was registering students for e-Gate on Saturdays and Sundays.
Also, Costaatt was not completely reliant on the ministry’s personnel for registering students as some of its staff was trained to help move the process along. In a previous report by the T&T Guardian, students at UWI had to face long lines at Daaga Hall on the St Augustine campus to register and its opening hours were only during class time.
Since then, the registration centre’s opening hours extended until 6 pm, only during weekdays. Rahamatula said that was good for part-time students, who had to take time off from work to rush for the 4 pm closing time and for the most part still could not register.
“They had to hustle to come before 4 (pm),” she said, adding a Saturday opening time would be beneficial.
Registration for the Gate e-Service can be done at fifty-four (54) registration centres throughout Trinidad and Tobago, including the TTConnect offices. (See www.ttconnect.gov.tt or www.test.gov.tt for more details) Staff at all the public and private institutions have been trained to assist in the registration process. The Ministry has provided seventy-four (74) Registration Officers to assist at all public institutions as well as the larger private institutions.
A total of 30,315 students have registered for a Gate e-Service ID by February 24. It is noted that students on site at several institutions, such as Costaatt and UWI-Open Campus, have been registering for their Gate e-Service IDs with relative ease.
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