Principal defends UWI study

Principal Sir Hilary Beckles say a recent study conducted by Cave Hill campus, entitled The Impact of the University of the West Indies – Cave Hill Campus on the Economy of Barbados was not a publicity stunt.

In fact, he suggested that it was a mere coincidence that the research comes at a time when most of Government’s teritary education funding has been cut and those attending were being asked to pay their own way.

The study found that the UWI contributes more direct foreign exchange to the local economy than sugar and rum exports, based its generation of almost $87 million in foreign exchange in 2013.

“It was meant for information purposes, it was meant for purposes of stakeholder knowledge and bear in mind that the public of the Caribbean is an important stakeholder . . . and the public has a right to know all the information relative to how their taxpayer monies is being used.

“But what was the response?  ‘Why is the University wasting its resources in carrying out such surveys?  Why is the University trying to prove that they make more foreign exchange in the country than the rum industry or agriculture?  What’s their agenda?  Those are the questions that were asked by people in high places,” Sir Hilary told the opening session of the 13th Annual Association of Caribbean Higher Education Administrators Conference, being hosted by the campus over the next few days.

His comments come in response to criticisms levelled by Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss who dismissed the UWI study as a public relations exercise and Minister of Education Ronald Jones who suggested that the University should adopt a more commercial focus.

In response, Sir Hilary said “all institutions have a responsibility to carry out those impact analysis on a regular and systematic basis.

“That ought to be part of any well-managed and governed institution to carry out their impact analysis. You would imagine, therefore, thatthat information should have been welcomed with enthusiasm.

“And you would have imagined therefore that a rational response to that information would have been, ‘ok, well if that is true, how the can we use the information to promote further foreign exchange earnings, to promote more economic growth and to help us to build the potential for our flight out of poverty.

“You would have thought that would have been a rational response,” Sir Hilary reasoned.


3 Responses to Principal defends UWI study

  1. Patrick Blackman July 11, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Mr. Beckles, firstly needs to stop building a personal empire out of UWI. Programs should be cost effective before they are implimented that is, the appropriate funding needs to be in place before you start enrolling students. What about the nonsense programs like Msc. in cricket… give me a break… Mr. Beckles stop wasting the taxpayers money and restructure Cave Hill to met the development goals of the country instead of building your legacy.

    • Olutoye Walrond July 11, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Yes, Patrick, but none of these arguments has anything to do with the study on the university’s foreign-exchange earnings.

  2. Patrick Blackman July 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Olutoye, the point here is that the fact that the UWI contributes the foreign exchange position is not relevant, every man in the street does that. So we should over look poor management because they contribute to foreign exchange? What the principal needs to focus on is streamlining his programs and focusing on the key priorities… manage your programs within the limitations of your resource base. Raise admission standards so that real students who have the desire to move ahead in life and who have put in a tremendous effort into their education can enter UWI, not have UWI littered with dropouts. Expand online courseware to reduce cost, take a look at MIT courseware facilities. If more programs are online, less facilities are required. It should possible to complete a whole degree online, students just sit their exams on campus.


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