The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus received a major financial boost last Thursday, when officials of that institution signed a fresh memorandum of understanding (MOU) worth more than half a million dollars with CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.
The signing of the new MOU is the fourth in a sequence, which officials said signaled the strengthening of the partnership between the two institutions.
The new MOU carries a value of $660, 000 over the next three years. Among its objectives is the expansion and development of educational opportunities and enhancement of the university’s capacity for research in the areas of banking and finance.
Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Cave Hill Campus Professor Eudine Barriteau said the university had benefited from some $2.7 million from the financial institution since the first MOU was signed in 2003.
So far, more than 60 per cent of the funding has gone toward students’ development, while close to a million dollars has been used to fund scholarships.
Barriteau promised that the funds would help the university to better respond to stakeholders’ needs, adding that the partnership with the bank continued to facilitate research for regional development as well as foster student advancement.
She said the new funding would also support research, projects and activities that relate to information and communication technology.
“This will relate specifically to architecture, information and cyber security, analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, big data analytics and cloud,” said Barriteau, adding that an annual grant of $10,000 would be provided to fund “one or more mutually agreed and jointly executed projects”.
“The University’s goals of community outreach and enhancing public knowledge are also supported by our MOU. For example, through the bank’s sponsorship of the annual Frank Worrell Memorial Lecture,” said Barriteau.
The principal said when the new MOU was activated she was hoping to introduce a seminar for students, which would focus on financial literacy and financial decision-making, adding that the students “need it”.
Under past MOUs the university had implemented initiatives to help students transition from the classroom to the workplace.
“I can disclose that we are currently preparing to roll out a new MSc in Finance that is approved by the Chartered Financial Analysts,” said Barriteau.
“In recent weeks the Cave Hill campus has implemented training in finance in the Eastern Caribbean and is in negotiations to conduct similar training for the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank over the summer,” she added.
A CIBC FirstCaribbean Bank plaque was also unveiled on the campus as part of this morning’s ceremony.
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of FirstCaribbean International ComTrust Foundation Gary Brown said he was proud of what the university has been able to accomplish over the years.
“It is not only the physical facilities that you have been able to build on this campus and around the region, but it is the work that you do with the students, [that] is the most important,” said Brown.
“It is important that we continue to invest in the young people across the Caribbean. It is obviously a major focus of our Foundation to make sure that…FirstCaribbean is doing what it can from a social responsibility perspective to contribute to the growth and development of our young people,” he said.
The banking official said he believed with the education provided at the UWI, graduates would be able to “contribute strongly to growth in the Caribbean”.