First year Guyanese students at the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS) have welcomed the Government’s announcement of full scholarships to law students for the year 2019/2020.
The students believe the financial issues faced by local law students have been persisting for too long.
Olivia Bess, Vice President for the Guyanese Jurisdiction Committee –a group representing local law students at the HWLS in Trinidad and Tobago –told the media on Tuesday that an average Guyanese student spends approximately $5M per year to attend the institution.
“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,” Bess explained.
Bess spoke with the media at the Attorney General Chambers, Carmichael Street, Georgetown as she and other colleagues were there to meet with the AG, Basil Williams to discuss the challenges they encounter.
“We requested a meeting because we as Guyanese students suffer a lot of financial issues,” the aspiring lawyer said.
Giving a breakdown of the expenses, Bess said the tuition fee has increased from TT$98,366 to TT$101, 066 for first-year students. This sum is over G$3M.
“Added to that, you also have living expenses. Let’s talk about your rent, the average [Guyanese] student in Trinidad and Tobago will pay around TT$3,000 or TT$2,500 when you convert that to Guyana rate, that will be around GY$90,000 a month…also, an average student spends between TT$1500 to TT$2,000 per month,” she explained.
The Department of Public Service in a notice Sunday announced that it is offering a limited number of scholarships for the Legal Education Certificate (LEC) at the HWLS for the year 2019/2020.
To become eligible, students must under 35 years old, be a holder of a Bachelor of Laws Degree with a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.3 which they would have obtained in the last five years and obtain an offer of acceptance from the HWLS.
The scholarships are also open to present students who must have passes for the first year of studies with at least three courses passed with grade A.
The Attorney General said a determination has not yet been made on the number of scholarships to be offered.
“Let’s see the applications first,” he said.
The Minister of Legal Affairs said the APNU+AFC Government has been pushing for better access to law studies for local students since it assumed office.
Williams said the Government entered into a three-year collaborative agreement with the institution in 2016. That agreement came to an end in 2019.
The students have until August 30 to submit applications to the Department of Public Service, Ministry of the Presidency, Scholarship Division, Vlissengen Road and D’Urban Street, Georgetown.