Speaking at the UWI’s Meeting of University Council open session which was streamed on UWI-TV, UWI-TV’s Facebook page, and UWI-TV’s channels on Flow on Wednesday, Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) shared his vision for the financial reliance model of the university to change, so there is less dependency on the public.
Citing his concern with the Caribbean’s macroeconomic situation, his hope is for the institution to become an entrepreneurial university by generating entrepreneurial interest and activity in the market economy which will yield revenue.
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During his presentation, he said, “We believe that it is possible in the next five years to turn around the financial funding model of this university so that our reliance upon the public revenue will be significantly diminished, while the university itself, in its own entrepreneurial activity, would generate far more resources than it has ever done in the past.”
Beckles believes the University has a proven track record of “pushing access beyond traditional boundaries and frontiers”. He shared the decision to institute the UWI Five Islands Campus in Antigua and Barbuda, an accomplishment made with the assistance of the government of Antigua and Barbuda via an US$80 million loan from the Saudi Development Fund.
The UWI Five Islands Campus will emerge as a state-of-the-art part of the UWI family. The agreement was signed on January 17 and Beckles said Denzel Williams, principal and pro-vice chancellor, has already rolled out a master plan for the expansion of the campus featuring all the modern facilities a university should have.
He reminded attendees of the wider regional struggles – climate change, disaster mitigation and management, covid19 and non-communicable diseases, crime and security, re-energizing Caribbean economic growth, and sustainable development goals advocacy – which the university has long tried to bring awareness and protect lives.
“This is how we have positioned the university. We took the strategic decision that the university must be on the vanguard and the frontier of all of these issues. Never let it be said that the voice of the UWI has not been heard on any major issue facing our people. This is the university that we have tried to create.”
Sir Hilary also shared several examples of how the UWI is tackling some of these issues from climate change through its Seismic Research Unit with 40 years of data to COVID-19 via its COVID-19 Task Force and working with governments in different islands to mitigate potential disasters there.