Sir Hilary Beckles, principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, has accused Government of not seeing the institution as an engine of growth and development to assist in the structuring of the island’s economy.
The pro–vice chancellor said despite the fact that there were researched and documented statistics which showed the success of the tertiary institution, Government continued to underestimate its ability.
“Even though the statistics are there, even though the data are available to them that Cave Hill generates more foreign exchange than it consumes in local currency, that there are few institutions in this country that bring in as much foreign exchange as this institution. . . .
“The Governor of the Central Bank knows this, the finance ministry knows this, but somehow, that knowledge is not translated into a language of development in which the campus is conceptualized as a site of growth and development. Until that happens, we will have some difficulties,” he said.
Sir Hilary made these remarks today as he delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of the campus’ Research Days 2014 Cave Hill activity.
Sir Hilary indicated that while he believed the governance culture only saw the university as a site of expenditure, its management was not going to lie down and play dead because “this campus is too important to the people of this country and to the people of this region”.
He said the campus’ graduate studies and research theme for the Research Days 2014 titled Techonology And Innovation For The 21st Century, “was the beginning of a new Cave Hill, an independent Cave Hill [and] a Cave Hill that will drive this country and this region
“A friend sent me recently a British government paper on the role of Cambridge University. In this paper, they are conceptualising that Cambridge, the oldest university, is going to become the centre of the redefining and the restructuring of the British economy in the next 20 years. It is a fascinating document.
“They have looked at all of the capacities within this institution, the space around it, the skills within it and they are seeing within the body of this institution all of the things that they need to build a new economy and therefore industry and investors have to rally around all the things that they have identified within this university,”he explained.
The principal said that on an internal level, there was a need for ideas to be migrated out of faculties at the university and into other sectors.
“We need to migrate industrial management thoughts into our faculties. We need to build those bridges. We need to move ideas into innovation, into product, into value added. . . .The new kind of campus that we are speaking about. They can no longer be an us and them, there now has to be an us.”
At the opening ceremony, awards were presented for the most outstanding researcher in each faculty, best applied research, mosts internationally successful research and research teams.