The University of the West Indies (UWI) Council, chaired by Chancellor, Robert Bermudez, met in Kingston recently to receive a submission from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda proposing the establishment of the University’s fourth landed campus.
The Council heard from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who indicated that ongoing conversations with the government had reached maturity and that a proposal was ready.
The Vice-Chancellor traced the 70-year old history of the UWI from its single faculty, single campus status in 1948 to a tri-campus university with the addition of St Augustine and Cave Hill campuses in Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados respectively, in the 1960s. The Open Campus was established ten years ago in the last significant restructuring.
Reference was made by the Vice-Chancellor to the growing perception in the Eastern Caribbean that the UWI could do more to promote development by facilitating the creation of a University community of skilled professionals, academics, research professors, and innovators.
Deputy Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Steadroy Benjamin presented his country’s case, arguing that only a campus producing a diversity of human resources at a much higher level could attract the investment capital necessary to drive economic growth above the current two to three percent growth per year.
Reference was also made to the phenomenal impact that the Cave Hill Campus has had on the transformation of Barbados over the past 50 years. “Antigua and Barbuda’s time has come,” Benjamin stated.
The government’s presentation was applauded by the University Council, and received unanimous support. The Council acknowledged the need to examine the proposal made by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and authorised the Vice-Chancellor to establish a Technical Task Force comprising University officials, students and other stakeholders to conduct a feasibility study -examine and evaluate the financial, operational and strategic viability and the sustainability of the establishment of the new campus.
The Council also delegated responsibility to the University’s Finance and General Purpose Committee (F&GPC) to determine the terms of reference and membership of the Technical Task Force, provide oversight, management and monitoring of its work and prepare a submission of its findings to the next regular meeting of the Council, scheduled for April 2018.
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