UNIVERSITY of the West Indies (UWI) vice chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles wants to strengthen the links between UWI and the University of Guyana (UG), towards helping develop Guyana, he said in a statement on Monday.
“Universities are not built and funded to serve themselves but the communities and cultures of which they are a core part.
“To this end, regional university leaders got together to energize and revamp the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes-now re-branded as Universities Caribbean in order to create a network of integrated universities for future development planning.” This is an association of 50 universities working together, said Sir Hilary, with him as its president.
“We are currently planning joint inter-university degree programmes. It is an exciting time.
“One such project is a waster's degree in Caribbean civilization to be delivered by six universities within the diverse language groups of the region.”
Sir Hilary said the Caribbean is the most deeply penetrated part of the world in terms of services and products delivered by foreign universities.
“The UWI is not a foreign university in any Caricom circumstance. In this context, the emerging relationship between The UWI and the government of Guyana in the area of human resource development can only positively affect inter-university partnership and co-operation.
“Against this background, The UWI is keen to participate in "rekindling Guyana's economic and social development."
He said UWI has a long, intimate relationship with the University of Guyana.
“It is our sister academy and we have many active partnerships with departments and faculties across our campus systems.
“We expressed keenness to deepen this bond when Professor E Nigel Harris was appointed (UWI) chancellor and also with the appointment of UG) Chancellor Professor Eddie Greene.
He added that UWI was active on this front with (UG) vice-chancellor Ivelaw Griffith and was now energized by the appointment of (UG) vice-chancellor Professor Paloma Mohamed Martin.
“Before covid19, Chancellor Greene and I spoke about building the 'UWI-UG bridge.' That conversation has been ongoing.”
Sir Hilary said the bridge would boost mutual development, regional integration and teaching and research capacity.
“The UWI-UG bridge’ proposal has tremendous potential benefits for Guyana.
“The excellent idea of Guyana as host to a ‘higher education hub’ is President Ali's brainchild. The UWI wishes to partner in nurturing this infant. Guyana will be the development beneficiary.”
Sir Hilary said in the weeks ahead, collaborative frameworks will guide deeper institutional bonding, but noted 'development time' was not on their side.
“Guyanese scholars, mostly products of UG, have made a superordinate contribution to the rise of The UWI-including chancellors, vice-chancellors, pro vice-chancellors, distinguished research professors, and teachers possessed of brilliant oratory. It has been a remarkable injection of intellect.
“It is in this spirit of collaboration that we are keen to assist in creating the 'Guyana higher education hub.' Together they will constitute a pathway to peace and prosperity through partnership.”