The University of the West Indies has been called on to create research clusters and advance those that could be considered critical to national development.
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, made the call while underscoring the importance of research as he delivered the feature address at the University of the West Indies’ Benefactors Awards Ceremony, last evening, at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination.
Sinckler told his audience: “What we put into the university and eventually put out into the community must reflect the fundamental needs of those societies. The $120 million to $150 million invested in the university campus by the Government of Barbados will mean absolutely nothing if it cannot provide individuals, professionals [and] graduates who can drive the new developmental agenda in Barbados in areas of agribusiness, renewable energy, climate change, the Blue economy and so on. These are the new areas to which we are looking for a plethora of skills to advance in.”
He proffered the view that if some of these opportunities are to be secured, Cave Hill Campus must continue to initiate more Memoranda of Understanding with other universities, governments and international organisations, among others.
He said: “As Minister of Finance, I am eager to state that such partnerships will be at the centre of the Ministry’s attention, both for financial and technical support, as we move towards building out new pathways for development, not only with the campus and university, but of course for Barbados.”
Acknowledging that access to education at all levels had been a key factor in the success of Barbados as a society and an economy, the minister reaffirmed Government’s commitment to support the continued growth and development of the UWI and increase access to tertiary education for all Barbadians. He pointed out that Government has had to manage the economy during a recessionary period, when there were major increases in the cost of tertiary education.