Former University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer Dr George Belle has described as “profound ignorance”, criticisms by Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate Verla De Peiza of the quality of education at the regional institution.
De Peiza, who will challenge Dr William Duguid of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) for the Christ Church West seat in the upcoming general election, charged during a recent DLP lecture that the tertiary institution had lost its prestige and had lowered its standards in a misguided attempt to fast track former principal Sir Hilary Beckles’ vision for a university graduate in every household.
However, Belle, the former dean of the faculty of social sciences at Cave Hill, tore into the DLP senator, contending during his delivery of this week’s BLP lunchtime lecture, that she “was speaking from a position of profound ignorance”.
Strongly rejecting the notion that the campus was below the standards of its regional counterparts, Belle said the Cave Hill campus was a world-class institution that compared favourably with the campuses at St Augustine and Mona.
He pointed out that even with the university’s expansion, students could not get in.
The campus administration revealed in their monthly gazette that in 2016 the United States Department of Education recognized the UWI’s medical programme as comparable with medical education in the United States.
Drawing examples from the contributions that international universities have made to the towns or cities where they were located, Belle stressed the importance of a university to a country and economy.
“The Cave Hill Campus contributed significantly to creating an educated society, providing enlightenment, enhancing the idea and reality of sovereignty, and ensuring a level of innovation and intellectual engagement which benefited the country as a whole,” he said, adding that the costs at Cave Hill were previously the highest among the three campuses and that the expansion of the physical plant had allowed the university’s administration to take in larger numbers of qualified students.