University of Guyana (UG) students will benefit from a mixed programme through collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Vice Chancellor of UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said UWI is already collaborating with UG on programmes in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, medicine and law among others, but there needs to be full mobility where students can mix their programmes at both universities.
“We would love to make that into a structural relationship where a bridge is built between the two universities, where you can move credits from one to the other, you can mix your degree programme, do a part at UG, a part at UWI, you can create a circumstance where the two institutions interface in such a way that there is full mobility,” Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary explained.
In an interview at the opening of the recent 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM Vice Chancellor Beckles explained that currently there is an association of Caribbean universities to merge the institutions. He added that this merger is expected to allow students the opportunity to have a variety of choices in completing their programmes by moving from one university and pulling programmes from different institutions to complete a degree.
He said this dream would become a reality with the use of online technology “but in the first instance with UG, we’re going to have some bilateral; department to department faculty to faculty to allow that to happen in phases,” the Vice Chancellor said.
Sir Hilary highlighted that in the English speaking Caribbean, the capacity for higher education is inadequate in quantity, and there are specific challenges with aspects of its quality. “If you take the age cohort 18-30 and you look at where we stand in the English speaking Caribbean we are at the bottom in terms of enrollment of higher education.” This puts the youths in the English speaking Caribbean at the bottom of the hemisphere and serious actions need to be taken immediately, Sir Hilary noted.
According to the UWI Vice Chancellor, a country’s economic and social development is a reflection of the number of young people embracing professional training, higher education, technical skills, and technical skills acquisition.
He noted that Caribbean economies are the most sluggish to recover from being at the bottom of the hemisphere due to the laws of the countries towards education, engagement of communities in higher education, research, professional training and innovation, “So we have a problem and we have to fix it, we have to quadruple the capacity for higher education in our region,” Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary said.
The UWI Vice Chancellor pointed out that UWI, along with other institutions, is laying the foundation for an education revolution from which Caribbean youths can benefit.
By: Ranetta La Fleur | GINA