An online protest against government’s recently implemented 14% VAT which is now applied to private education is picking up momentum. The online petition which was launched by students in the private education system has gained 1,5349 signatures and counting.
The 14% VAT on private education came into effect on February 01, 2017, following the removal of zero-rated items, a measure which was announced in Budget 2017.
The petition which was launched by 6th form students of Nations University stated that “students have been informed, a few days ago, that with immediate effect, their fees have now been increased by 14%. A number of these students pay the fees in G$100 bills, this new imposition may simply mean they stop the course, stay home and lose hope and add to the growing numbers of the unemployed and unemployable” as it pointed to a course for school leavers offered at the university.
The students clarified that the petition is not presented with any political agenda nor is it presented as an appeal on behalf of private schools but “rather all Guyanese since parents find they are paying more for pencils, crayons and basic school supplies.”
However, it also sought to rubbish claims which states that anyone who attends a private school must be wealthy, ‘noting that “that perception may be true for a certain percentage but, for the majority, attendance at such schools often represents a real sacrifice by a family member.”
“This new tax does nothing to further that vision, that sense of optimism, the idea that they can rise out of poverty” the petition highlighted.
Nations University also offers education ay its pro bono branch in Berbice. According to the School’s Director, Brian O’Toole, this branch is funded by donors in the United States of America, England and Canada along with profits the University affords.
O’Toole noted that some students are already finding it hard to pay their fees and the increase is an “unjust” one.