The College of the West Indies (UWI) has usually been considered as a long-standing companion to Caribbean Governments in fostering integration and improvement of our individuals, and forming strategic alliances.
CARICOM member states at the moment are contemplating the institution of a single market economic system. This can imply the final elimination of all authorized and administrative restrictions to commerce. Elevated competitors amongst these states is due to this fact inevitable. The power of member states to outlive the results of commerce liberalisation will amongst different issues rely on the capability of its human sources and its studying establishments. The function that UWI is enjoying in enabling the individuals and international locations of the area to make the transition will due to this fact come underneath nice scrutiny. Many, together with graduates of the College, consider that “UWI merely is not doing sufficient!”
UWI’s function has been assessed primarily based on adjustments in its curriculum, the extent of mental dialogue stimulated on the subject amongst individuals of the area and the extent to which it has facilitated product improvement by enhancing the areas entry to specialised coaching and expertise switch.
A significant criticism levelled towards the College is that it has did not make use of revolutionary methods and radical curriculum engineering in attaining the transformation required to strategically tackle the challenges going through the area.
To the query of whether or not the College has enhanced the mental capability of the individuals of the area, the reply is an emphatic sure. However when requested whether or not its efforts have equalled these of respected universities all over the world, the response is just not equally convincing.
Caribbean entrepreneurs argue that UWI has not instilled in its graduates, the dramatic adjustments in perspective and views required to help the enterprise sector in confronting the challenges of the CSME. Amidst a local weather of excessive unemployment amongst graduates, the view is that UWI is just not equipping its graduates to hunt alternatives for self-employment. As a substitute, UWI is churning out bookworms that lack entrepreneurial imaginative and prescient!
The query has additionally been requested about whether or not the College has elevated alternatives for regional cooperation in human, financial and social improvement. Little doubt, it has performed a important and vital function in integrating the individuals and international locations of the area. The truth is, it may be argued that UWI has performed a pivotal function in advancing the spirit of cooperation and integration that has made the Caribbean single market a actuality. Compared to the “much-lauded” CARICOM Federation, the persevering with achievements of the College of the West Indies dispel the arguments that the area can’t unite.
However is UWI doing sufficient to help graduates to confront the adjustments within the worldwide buying and selling surroundings and the implications for small, open economies like ours? There’s solely a lot that establishments of the area, corresponding to UWI can do. The enterprise sector armed with a extra educated workforce should now do the remainder.
One factor is for certain. UWI has over time engendered a spirit of regional cooperation and Caribbean identification. Definitely, the College, as a regional establishment, has served as a beacon in bringing the individuals and international locations of the area collectively. To counsel in any other case is to be overly important and to underscore the efforts of the Governments, College Officers and Graduates who’ve contributed to this course of. However amidst these efforts, College Officers admit that the numbers of OECS (Organisation of Jap Caribbean States) registrants proceed to say no. Increasingly more college students of the area are wanting in direction of programmes at international universities, albeit self funded and costlier. Why is that? The reply might lie in the truth that the college has itself did not adapt to the altering local weather.
The current financial local weather requires the area’s tertiary studying establishments to swiftly present a broad base of expert professionals. This, it’s believed, will set in movement the potential for the area to compete with the mega commerce blocs which have emerged, in current time. This requires that our studying establishments facilitate extra huge unfold and reasonably priced entry to schooling for the individuals of the area. The Developed International locations have resorted to on-line distant studying programmes to realize this goal. Admittedly, one of many compelling shortcomings of UWI is that whereas main universities all over the world have efficiently established respected on-line studying programmes, “UWI continues to be making an attempt to play catch up.” The absence of an efficient on-line studying programme that facilitates widespread and value efficient entry to tertiary schooling, says all of it. Within the context of our geography, it’s indicative of the College’s lack of ability to adequately place itself to fulfill the wants of the individuals and international locations of the area.
Who’s to say that UWI’s methods and timing should not in line with the demonstrated wants of its individuals? The true query is what function ought to UWI play in getting ready the area for CSME. Is there an outlined function or a selected side for which it ought to assume accountability? The problem of whether or not UWI is doing sufficient or what it needs to be doing will stay a subject for debate. What’s past dispute is that UWI can and needs to be doing extra to arrange the area for the challenges of the CSME.