Friday, June 25, 2004

Ja: Whoooeee!!! The screwing of external law students

MORE THAN 40 Jamaican nationals who gained the Bachelor of Law Degree (LL.B.) by external examination from the University of London and Wolverhampton University are challenging a decision by the Council of Legal Education of the Norman Manley Law School, which requires them to pay nearly $1 million annually for admission to that institution.

The Norman Manley Law School provides the course of study leading to the licensing of attorneys-at-law in Jamaica and other Caribbean territories.

The British-trained law graduates were informed in May this year that because of the reduced budgetary allocation by the Government of Jamaica to the law school, Jamaican nationals who gained their law degrees abroad would no longer be able to enjoy the subsidy in respect of their tuition fees starting this year. This category of students are required to pay the full economic cost of $890,000 per annum.

DISCRIMINATION

Some of the applicants said they found the decision discriminatory and, consequently, wrote to Minister of Justice and Attorney-General A.J. Nicholson this week asking him to intervene in the matter.

They told The Gleaner that it was unfair for them to bear the full cost of the tuition fees because it was a lack of funds in the first place why some of them had to gain their degrees by private tuition. Noting that they would have to spend two years to get the certificate in legal education in order to practise as lawyers, the law graduates said it was not possible that they would get loans from the Students' Loan Bureau to cover the two-year cost of $1.6 million.

This contrasts to the annual tuition fee of $175,000 paid by graduates of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados campus.
American college students, especially those in community, city, and state colleges, ought to just shut up about tuition fees.

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