Guyanese students in their second year at the Hugh Wooding Law School, (HWLS) have met with Attorney General, Basil Williams S.C to discuss the eligibility for the full scholarships offered by the Government for the 2019 /2020 academic year.
During the meeting at the AG’s Carmichael Street Head Office, yesterday, Olivia Bess, Vice President for the Guyanese Jurisdiction Committee—a student advocacy group, outlined some of the difficulties faced by Guyanese students pursuing law at the Trinidad-based school.
According to Bess, several Guyanese students studying at HWLS encounter a lot of financial difficulties as it regards to acquiring accommodation, food and tuition fees.
“It is not easy for the Guyanese students in Trinidad and Tobago to function properly…because you have to think of whoever is looking after you and how they will find that money.”She explained that the HWLS tuition fee for the first year has since increased.
“The tuition fee is no longer TT$98,366 it is now TT$101,066 for first-year students. When you exchange that it will translate as $3M for the first year tuition fee.
Added to that, you have to pay rent; the average Guyanese student in Trinidad and Tobago will pay around TT$2,500 to TT$3000 that translates to around $90,000 per month.”
Bess told the media that when all the expenses are added the total cost to study at the HWLS stands at about $5M per year.
“Each student is required to complete two years to get a Legal Education Certificate (LEC) so then your expenses will really be $10 M.”
The law student said, therefore, that she is very grateful that the Government has considered offering scholarships to students pursuing their studies in the Twin-Island Republic.
The Attorney General noted that since assuming office, the APNU/AFC Government has been considering and exploring methods in which it could meet the law students at their point of need.
Williams said that the students requested to meet with him to have further discussion on the matter.
“Since entering into Office, the Government was met with the problems encountered by the law students; very serious problems they were having that have got even worse, now.
“The previous Government had stopped entertaining any economic scholarship or so they said officially. So when we entered office we had to face a number of difficulties in getting these students to complete their studies.”
As part of efforts to help Guyanese students finish the law programme, Williams noted that the current administration has been exploring the possibility of establishing a Guyana-based Law School.
Despite the setbacks and difficulties, the Attorney General said that the Government will continue to push to have that goal accomplished.
Williams pointed out that at the beginning of his tenure as Attorney General; a three-year agreement was signed between the Government and the law school in Trinidad to facilitate the entry of Guyanese students into the HWLS programme.
He said that the agreement is expected to expire this year.
“So I believe the establishment of a Law School is still very viable and our discussion here today will help to update and inform us about the needs of Guyanese students currently studying in Trinidad and how we can best serve to help them
Over the weekend, the Ministry of the Presidency, Department of Public Service announced via advertisements in the daily newspapers that a limited number of law students will now be offered scholarships at the HWLS in Trinidad and Tobago for the 2019/2020 academic year.
The ad announced that the scholarship will be for students to attain the Legal Education Certificate (LEC).
The offer is being made to any person who is the holder of the Bachelor of Laws Degree with a minimum Grade point Average (GPA) of 3.3 and present students at the HWLS with passes for the first year of studies of at least three courses passed with a grade A.
Moreover, these individuals applying must have obtained a Bachelor of Laws Degree within the last five years and they must be 35 years old or under. Also the student must possess an offer of acceptance from the Hugh Wooding Law School for the 2019/2020 academic year.
According to the advertisement, the closing date for applications is August 30, 2019.
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