The University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus is answering the call for it to offer more targeted areas of studies, introducing a School of Governance and Public Policy.
And the university’s principal, Professor The Most Honourable Eudine Barriteau has thrown out a challenge to academics at the tertiary education institution to scrutinize the legislative framework in Barbados to identify any hindrances to public sector development.
A choice of up to eight certificate courses, ranging in length from one day to a week, will be offered from May through online and face-to-face teaching at the School of Governance and Public Policy, Barriteau’s brainchild.
The courses, which will be tailored to the needs of sectors and industries across the public and private sectors and civil society organizations, will be developed in an assortment of areas, including: implementation, protocol and diplomacy in the public service, auditing and cost controls, civics, grant funding and interactions with regional and international institutions, government administration, budgeting, government project management and procurement.
Addressing Tuesday’s launch of the school, Barriteau said that education “has to break down disciplinary boundaries” and it was time that the “rigid scaffoldings” are removed and individuals are allowed to “create their own majors”.
“We cannot seek to improve public sector performance without an examination of the legislative framework in which these services are delivered, and whether or not our legislative architecture facilitates or constrains the work of delivering improved services and other public goods,” she said.
Stating that the UWI had the capacity to improve public sector leadership, strengthen management capabilities and enrich research skills, the principal said the overarching purpose of the new School of Governance and Public Policy was to “build resilience and innovation within Caribbean public sectors”.
An upbeat Barriteau told the modest gathering that university officials had recognized that the post-Independence public service structure had “radically changed” and that education should also change to meet the new and emerging needs.
“At the university, we know that to advance the optimal functioning of government and parastatal organizations we need to review and appreciate the critical importance of the legislative, administrative, regulatory and public processes of 21st Century governance procedures, and where necessary, government operations,” said the trained political scientist.
Promising high quality assurance standards, she explained that training would be offered at three levels – entry level, middle management and senior leadership.
“In the 21st Century, we have to offer interdisciplinary programmes that abandon balkanized, rigid, disciplinary boundaries. The time for that has passed and we are going to see a lot of abandoning [of] those boundaries when we create the programming in the new Faculty of Culture Creative and Performing Arts,” said Barriteau.
The School of Governance and Public Policy’s courses will be offered under the Department of Government, Sociology, Social Work and Psychology in a partnership with the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences Professor Justin Robinson described the new school as a “flexible organism”, explaining that it would create training programmes that were needed, and deliver them in a way that would better equip public servants, CEOs and leaders of civil non-governmental organizations.
“As issues emerge, we need a flexible modality that you can bring on a set of training, address the needs and shut it down, and sort of move on with something else. So, the School of Governance and Public Policy is the latest innovation from the UWI as we continue to attempt to be a faithful servant of the needs of Caribbean society,” he said.
“Everyone is critically aware that an effective public sector is critical to sustainable socioeconomic development. The needs of the public sector, the role of the public sector, the skills that are required are constantly evolving. As the needs in society evolve, we have to evolve new mechanisms to serve that society,” Robinson added. [email protected]