While it continues to record an overall decline in student enrolment, the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is attracting a growing number of students from the Eastern Caribbean.
Head of Language, Linguistics and Literature Dr Ian Craigg revealed Thursday morning that 515 students from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States currently study at Cave Hill.
Although this is just 9.4 per cent of the total student population, it is a significant development for Craigg, whose own department boasts a rise in enrolment this year, for the first time since Government imposed tuition fees on Barbadian students three years ago.
“It is no secret that the population at this campus has dropped considerably in the last couple of years following the introduction of tuition payment obligations,” he told the opening ceremony of the 19th annual Eastern Caribbean Islands-in-Between Conference at 3W’s Oval.
“Nonetheless, we bring modestly glad tidings from a department whose disciplinary coverage strongly coincides with the thematic scope of this event, namely that for the first time in three years, numbers in our department overall are slightly up on the previous year.”
Craigg expressed the hope that this was the beginning of a trend which would impact positively on the humanities programme, which has “begun to feel like an increasingly embattled small island amidst an unforgiving sea of neo-liberal utilitarianism, a rather quaint and old fashioned little place with an ageing population and a brain drain problem”.
The UWI officials explained that Cave Hill remained attractive to the sub-region despite the fact it was costlier to live in Barbados when compared to the two other campus countries of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, most likely because of the familiarity of the Eastern Caribbean with Barbados and its proximity to these islands.