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Students fear closure of COSTAATT

Published: 
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
COSTAATT president Dr Gillian Paul

Students of the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of T&T (COSTAATT) expressed fear yesterday that one morning they will wake up to hear the college is no more.

However, COSTAATT’s president Dr Gillian Paul gave the assurance that no such thing would happen, even though its six campuses had been operating with tight cash flow.

Paul, in an article in Monday’s T&T Guardian, spoke about the college being faced with financial challenges as it recorded an overall 10-12 per cent decline in enrolment as a direct result to changes to the GATE programme.

At COSTAATT’s Melville Street, Port-of-Spain, campus the few students who showed up yesterday to finalise registration for the new semester next Monday admitted that they had no idea that COSTAATT was such in a financial bind.

A second-year journalism and communications student said while Paul had indicated that COSTAATT was rethinking its business model to align its offerings to the economic diversifications pillars, she hoped all was well.

“The last thing I want to hear is that COSTAATT is on the verge of collapse.”

Pursuing a diploma in supervisory management, a female student said while the University of T&T was on a job cutting exercise any number could play at COSTAATT.

“We can wake up one morning to hear that COSTAATT is no more.”

One graphic design student said COSTAATT needed to lay their cards on the table and level with students.

Told that yesterday’s Trinidad Guardian article headlined “COSTAATT contracts” had created fears for some students, Paul said they would do everything to help their students succeed.

COSTAATT offers 110 certificate, diploma and bachelors programmes.

Paul said they had been asking its faculty to critically examine some of its bachelor programmes which take between four to six years for students to complete.

“The faculty has come forward with a huge number of suggestions for relevant training.”

She said lecturers and staff were passionate and dedicated to their jobs.

“I have been communicating with them as to how we have to get through this passage. I asked the full-time faculty if any of them would offer to teach across free so we do not pay them additional money…and we have managers who are coming forward…. faculty who are coming to teach gratis for the college because they know that this is a little difficult time. They are committed to the institution.”

Paul said COSTAATT’s lecturers are paid far less than UTT and University of the West Indies lecturers.

COSTAATT has 165 full-time lecturers as well as part-time lecturers.

One lecturer who requested anonymity said declining enrolment would not affect classes significantly.

“There might be fewer classes offered now. If some classes see an enrolment of fewer students then they might close that section entirely.”

The lecturer said a good thing about the college it was never a lavish place.

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