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UWI looking to its alumni for help with funding

With the Freundel Stuart administration owing the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies in excess of $200 million, management there has been drawing up innovative plans to create additional revenue streams to finance tertiary education in Barbados.

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Lecturer in Economics at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, Professor Andrew Downes, made this announcement last night while delivering the Eighth Distinguished Alumni Lecture at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, the Cave Hill Campus, Cave Hill, St Michael.

Addressing the topic The funding of Education at The UWI: The Way Forward, Downes said: “Regional governments will still be a significant contributor to the University of the West Indies, but the UWI will be pushing to develop various revenue streams in the context of a new educational business model.

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Lecturer in Economics at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies Professor Andrew Downes.

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Lecturer in Economics at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies Professor Andrew Downes.

“The UWI will widen its global reach within the diaspora and other areas to offer its high quality services. The UWI needs the full support and involvement of the alumni so that the currency of their degrees would be maintained and not depreciated.”

While holding up the Open Campus as a model the university should follow, Downes noted that the income from fees collected by the Open Campus outstripped the contributions from the governments.

Identifying other revenue streams the university can explore, the academic said: “The university must scout about for research grants since government funding hardly contributes to the level of research needed. The university should identify projects funded by development partners and agencies. Philanthropy and alumni gift-giving should be encouraged. Commercial operations such as student accommodation, cafeteria services, book shops, conference rental and hostel services are also possible additional
reveue streams.”

Downes, who is engaged at the Office of Planning and Development, further suggested that a UWI consulting company could be formed to compete for large projects and a partnership could be entered into with the private sector for capital development.

He suggested that business development offices could be created on campus to develop entrepreneurial activities within departments and faculties.

“The promotion of online and distance programmes regionally and internationally would allow staff to collaborate and deliver programmes to the wider world. It is realised that such programming is the next frontier in tertiary level education which will be technologically driven. The franchising of programmes and courses to other regional and international institutions especially in areas that the UWI has a competitive advantage can be considered.”

Earlier, Downes noted that in 1962 then principal and later the first Vice Chancellor Arthur Lewis had indicated that the UWI was founded on the basis that the British government would provide capital for buildings and equipment, while the West Indian governments would meet recurrent expenditure.

The economic lecturer told his audience that even though the 17 contributing countries had agreed to provide some assistance with the expansion of the university, the current economic crisis had prevented them from contributing in a meaningful way with many countries recording sizeable arrears.

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