An economics lecturer at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, is suggesting that the Government adopt a transparent performance-based funding allocation framework to address the inequity in the subventions provided to tertiary institutions.
"Addressing the inequity in the funding provided by the Government will require a framework that links the awarding of government funding to national and institutional planning. This means that a performance-based framework is needed. Under such a framework, the level of funding provided to various institutions should be directly linked to a goal-oriented mechanism design," Dr Alrick Campbell has said.
His suggestion comes after students and staff members of the Papine-based University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), held a protest at the entrance to the institution last Wednesday to voice their outrage at what they believe is the chronic underfunding of the university by the Government.
Their action was prompted by the revelation that the neighbouring UWI, which got a significantly larger allocation this budgetary year, was to get a further $963 million in subvention under the current fiscal year, while UTech got no further allocation. At the start of the 2018-2019 financial year, The UWI had been allocated $8.73 billion, while UTech received $1.87 billion.
According to Campbell, the Government would need to base the funding allocation framework on four criteria, two of which are teaching inputs and outputs.
Under these criteria, he said that the university should not only be able to attract students to its various programmes over a particular period of time, but also be able to successfully graduate students within the stipulated time.
Another criterion in determining funding allocation, he said, should be research output.
“Any funding allocation must also take into account the research activities of the institution. This will consist of research publications in properly ranked journals that reflect the quality of the research output and/or policy proposals that lead to policy implementation at the national or regional level. Research output should also include students who have graduated from research master’s and doctoral degree programmes,” Campbell said.
He added that research is the second most important driver of public funding of colleges and universities, based on a study conducted in the United States.
Institutional factors such as how the institution invests in facilities to accommodate disadvantaged students, such as those with physical disabilities, was identified as the final criterion.
The economics lecturer believes that this framework can be established for the 2020-2021 financial year if it is treated as a priority.
Education Minister Ruel Reid indicated last week that the Government would have to revisit the funding strategy for tertiary institutions.
Published: Monday | February 25, 2019 | 12:00 AM Nickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer