Medical schools in battle for students?
October 14, 2016
Medical schools in battle for students?

One irate homeowner is calling for the relevant authorities to take action, given his difficulty in recovering monies owed to him by a medical student.

The landlord said that he is quite upset with the fact that his tenant skipped out without paying three months rent, and what makes the situation worse, he is unable to contact the individual, who has also switched medical schools.{{more}}

The furious Campden Park resident, who asked not to be named, said that he had rented rooms at his property to students who were enrolled at the American University School of Medicine at New Montrose, after speaking with officials at the school.

He said that when he rented the rooms to the foreign students, he was given the assurance by the school and the students that the rent would be paid in a timely manner, but as with almost any tenant, there would be the times when payments may be a bit late.

“I was told that sometimes the money that they were expecting …could be held up, but it wouldn’t have been a regular occurrence.

“They (the students) started off good and thing, but after a while the payment started coming later and later.”

He indicated that one student in particular, after being three months delinquent, disappeared without paying him.

The landlord said he went to the school at Montrose and spoke to one of the senior staff members and demanded that the official summon the student so that they could get to the bottom of the situation, but he was told that the student was no longer enrolled there and was now at another institution.

The irate landlord said he later found out from another of his tenants that his former tenant was not the only person who has switched schools, for various reasons, which he said he finds disturbing.

He indicated that some of the students who transferred to the All Saints Medical School at Belair have since left the school, but have not returned to their native country, and have chosen to remain in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I was told that about a dozen of them or so moved to All Saints, because some of them failed their semester at the first school and didn’t want to repeat, so they transferred, and some others were offered scholarships, and were even given incentives if they were able to encourage others to move over.

“I don’t know if this is legal, but I can see that this can cause problems. Are they allowed to switch schools just like that? What happens when they drop out of school? Don’t they have to return [home]?” the landlord enquired.

He questioned whether the authorities were aware of the situation and if anything was being done about it.

“When they drop out of school and they get sick, they take advantage of our medical system and this is an added burden on the country, because it’s us, the taxpayers, who will have to foot the bill. There were times when I had to take them to the hospital and they didn’t even have money to pay for medication at times.

“When I contacted the Immigration Department they said that a medical insurance is not compulsory for a foreign national in the country, even if they stay long here. Then, who is responsible for their medical expenses if something happens to them in the country?

“If they are no longer in school they should return home, and the authorities at Immigration should be looking into this. This is not right.”

When contacted, an official at the American University School of Medicine acknowledged that some of their former students are now attending the All Saints University, but stopped short of confirming the alleged reasons for the transitions.

“We have noticed that students who failed over a semester and are expected to repeat have left and are now going to All Saints,” the official said.

“Due to our strict policy that students who fail should repeat, we have had a number of students leaving. Others have left for reasons unknown to us and are now attending All Saints.

“We feel that it is unfair when a new student is being targeted and motivated to leave AUS by another institution, because all of our efforts to bring these students here to the island are wasted when they go elsewhere, because all our efforts have gone down the drain,” the official said.

The official also said that steps should be taken to ensure the protection of the country’s medical education system, and immigration policies should be enforced to guarantee that when a student leaves one institution for another in such a manner, the relevant authorities should take some form of action.

“We are no longer responsible for the students who change schools like that, but we are usually the first persons who are approached when something goes wrong.”

Meanwhile Kelvin Malcolm, assistant registrar at All Saints, which is located at Belair has dismissed any allegations of wrongdoing as “nonsense”.

“Students can transfer from one institution to another at their own accord. Once they meet the criteria for entry, [a decision will be made if] they will be accepted or not.”

Malcolm further added that he thinks that the homeowner should be focusing on recovering the monies owed to him.

The landlord, however, is still furious that he has been shortchanged by the delinquent student, and is contemplating not accepting [certain] students at his apartments.

“Some time ago, one of them was in the papers asking us to be patient with them, but when they do things like this, plus take advantage of our systems, it makes it very difficult for them to be trusted.

“It makes it harder for the ones who are more honest, and it makes it hard for us to work along with the schools.

An attempt was made to contact a senior official at the Immigration Department, but none was available for comment on the matter. (JJ)