The Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is on the verge of embarking on a major initiative to combat biological threats.
Speaking yesterday at the annual students’ awards ceremony at the campus, Principal Professor Eudine Barriteau said this project was part of plans to alter the campus’ traditional curriculum in order to meet the region’s educational needs in an unpredictable future.
“Indeed, the university realizes that workplaces are changing rapidly and meeting the requirements of those in the future requires considerable creative strategizing and planning now,” she said.
“So that we might offer, for example, a joint or dual law and medical sciences degree to meet emerging challenges and issues such as bioterrorism, biomedical compliance, health law and health care policy,” she told the students.
Barriteau, who is also pro vice chancellor, said Cave Hill had already started that process with the establishment of a centre for biosecurity studies.
She said this interdisciplinary centre would integrate the fields of law, medical research, international relations and public health to build capacity to deal with biological threats.
The university principal also noted that last year’s devastating hurricanes which left myriad social, economic and health challenges, created geopolitical and biosecurity concerns.
“The Centre for Biosecurity Studies will address these matters in specialized certified training, preparation of policy briefs and specialized consultancies,” she revealed.
Barriteau said the campus’ first activity would be a one-day symposium on August 2, where a panel of international experts will examine how to build resilience to biological threats in the Caribbean.
Meantime, the principal raised the vexing issue of tuition fees, stating that without the support of those who provided scholarships many students would have been forced to abandon their dreams of higher education due to financial constraints.
“I offer my sincere appreciation to our sponsors for your continued generosity in enabling these students to fulfill their dreams of securing higher education; a dream which thousands like them have abandoned or deferred during the last few years,” said the campus head.
“We have witnessed the struggle of those who persevered, though many have found it difficult to meet their financial obligation in a challenging economic climate . . . and although we at the university have put in place a number of measures to assist them, we recognize we could not ease their financial burden without your generous support,” added Professor Barriteau.
The campus principal acknowledged that, like the students, the university relied heavily on the goodwill, generosity and collaboration of many partners, including the scholarship and prize-giving donors.