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UWI medical faculty responsible for generating more than $86M


Minister of Health John Boyce and Principal Professor Sir Hilary Beckles shake hands after the MOU was signed.

The Medical Faculty at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus has so far generated more than $86 million in student fees and foreign grants for the benefit of this country’s economy.

Principal Professor Sir Hilary Beckles made the announcement today during a ceremony for the signing of a memoradum of understanding between Cave Hill Campus and the Ministry of Health, to formalise the working relations between the two entities.

As the tertiary education debate continues in the country, Sir Hilary said that rather than people suggesting that the Faculty’s Expansion Project was a drain on the government, they should instead be celebrating its success story.

He said the UWI borrowed $25 million to fund the project which was only guaranteed by the government in 2001.

The Cave Hill Campus head pointed out that the venture operated on a business model to attract students from all over the world who would pay fees and economic costs, “and allow the revenues to demonstrate not only the sustainability of the project, but the profitability,” added the principal.

“Since 2009, the medical faculty has generated $46.4 million,” he revealed. “If you are going to borrow $25 million and in four to five years your are going to generate $46.4 million in fees … which are paid by students from all over the world, including Barbadian students who are paid through their government … In addition to those fees, the faculty has generated substantial amounts of funds for research grants and other activities,” declared the professor.

He noted that these are grants which come from across the world.

“The figure we have before us at this time is that the medical faculty has brought some US$20 million into this country, since it’s been established. This is a significant amount of foreign exchange that this medical faculty has brought into this country,” Sir Hilary asserted.

“But from time to time, we have heard many negative criticism about the faculty; that the medical faculty was a drain on the country. It is the kind of misinformation the public of Barbados has been exposed to in abundance in recent weeks,” the Cave Hill Campus Principal observed.

He insisted that such was not true and the university must confront it.

Over past weeks debate has raged in the country over Government’s new mandate that will see students at the university paying 20 per cent of their tuition from next year.

Sir Hilary told the ceremony, which was attended by Minister of Health, John Boyce and other officials from the Ministry of Health and the University of the West Indies, that the success story of the medical faculty not only had to do with finances but academics as well.

“The first cohort of graduates from the faculty have established new university records for the excellence they have achieved. The numbers of distinctions and honours that these students have graduated with, have surpassed standards established by the university in the many, many decades of medical education,” the prominent academician concluded.

He pointed out, too, that the first cohort at Cave Hill in surgery especially, has set new standards for student performances in distinctions.

“It is that we have assembled here in Barbados, some of the finest professors of medicine in the world. We have brought them here in Barbados, in the Caribbean, to be part of this country, to train our students.” (EJ)

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