Raising Robotics Inscription Prices Burden Students


The Lizards meet in the maker space to discuss what can be done about the price issue. Several members of the Lightning Blue Lizards have expressed their concerns on whether it is worth it to pay the steep membership fees.

Mariana Posada, Discoverer staff writer

A lack of communication about the price for joining the TCS robotics team, Lightning Blue Lizards, has caused confusion and concern between the students. 

Inscriptions for extracurriculars were open since the beginning of August, and people seeking to join the robotics team were startled by the price. For the first semester, the robotics extracurricular costs $900,000 COP compared to last year’s $600,000 COP. The elevated price frightened the students. 

“People are very afraid since the prices skyrocketed so there’s not as much motivation to join this year and I don’t think many of the faithful, hard-working people that we had last year will repeat again this year,” Gabriel Vallejo, TCS active robotics participant, said. 

Even though the increase might be seen as too much, the team has many costs to cover and students are the ones who make the project sustainable. Teachers and other students are working to motivate peers by telling them a little about the competition and the preparation for it. 

“They have expressed that they will try to do their best to be able to pay the increase during this year,” Julian Zuñiga, robotics teacher in charge, said. 

Not knowing where their money is going, students disagree with the abrupt price rise but their determination to participate has made them, as Vallejo expressed, “pull through”. 

“We are here to learn and we don’t want people to not be part of the robotics team because of a price but I have to understand and it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth,” Vallejo said. 

Despite the price and confusion, around 50 students joined the team including eight girls from Marymount. After this, the administration balanced out the prices of the second semester to get a more reasonable total price. 

“Last week we sent new information saying that the price only went up less than 2%. The problem was that at the beginning we didn’t have the number of people to cover the costs,” Zuñiga said. 

During the first weeks of school, when noticing the price, students asked and complained but were not given concrete information about why it had risen. Some felt that the mentors could improve upon informing them clearly. 

“We do have a voice, but maybe sometimes it is not taken as seriously as the voice of a teacher or the voice of a parent,” Vallejo said 

On August 30th, 2019, families got some tranquility from a letter explaining the program in detail. In the end, an assertive communication form both the students and the administrative staff was the key to solving the problem.  

“I truly believe that students, when they speak up in a very argumentative and proactive way, will always be heard,” said Zuñiga.