DESPITE a recent 40 per cent drop in student numbers at its Cave Hill Campus, UWI will establish a campus in China, vice chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles said yesterday at the Campus Council meeting and media conference in Barbados. The event was live streamed by UWITV.
Saying the new UWI facility will be established in conjunction with China’s Jiangsu University, Beckles described it as a major development. He also spoke of a “Japan Initiative” by UWI.
Campus principal Prof Eudine Barriteau lamented that Cave Hill’s enrolment has steadily fallen from 8,634 students in 2013-2014 year to 5,171 in last year. She noted the decline coincided with tuition hikes in 2014-2015, for which year enrolment had dived to 6,000. “The students who graduated last year were the first cohort who were full-paying,” she said.
Beckles in turn reckoned the ideal size for Cave Hill was 10,000 students, and was confident schools, colleges and workplaces of Barbados could top up enrolment numbers by some 2,500 new students each year. Otherwise Beckles said Cave Hill will be the site of the Eastern Caribbean’s first ever science technology innovation park.
“This will push the smart campus concept and help the modernisation of the Faculty of Science and Technology (UWI),” he said. Beckles said Cave Hill must be at the centre of Barbados’ economic growth and social transformation and urged UWI staff to never feel intimidated or marginalised.
Recalling that 30 years ago, Cave Hill would deliver guest lectures from island to island across the Eastern Caribbean, Beckles said, “We didn’t draw a line between Barbados and the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.)” He hailed the example of Barriteau straddling the two worlds of Cave Hill and the OECS as “proof of the pudding.”