Friday 25 September, 2020

UWI Cave Hill expects student numbers to grow

Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of The University of the West Indies, Professor Eudine Barriteau.

Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of The University of the West Indies, Professor Eudine Barriteau.

The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus expects that declining student enrolment numbers will recover.

This is according to Principal of the Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau, who was addressing new students of the campus at its Matriculation Ceremony on Friday.

There has been a decrease in enrolment since the Barbados Government stopped paying tuition fees of Barbadian students in 2014.

However, on Friday Professor Barriteau said, “We have reason to believe that we have now bottomed out and our numbers will again rise – albeit gradually.”

She disclosed that at September 1, there were 4,203 students at the campus – 317 graduate and 3,886 undergraduate. This year’s cohort will see 1,164 persons (132 graduate and 1,032 undergraduate) join the student roll at UWI Cave Hill.

Professor Barriteau highlighted that the Cave Hill Campus is expanding access to higher education for students from Barbados, the Caribbean and abroad, and transforming into a "smart campus" by deepening alliances and enhancing its agility in delivering quality programmes that are relevant to the 21st century.

“We are achieving even greater alignment of the goals of becoming more entrepreneurial and financially self-reliant through working cohesively with corporate partners, governments and civil society to provide revenue-earning services for our expansion and growth,” she said.

The Cave Hill Principal congratulated the matriculating students for making the investment in a higher education during these challenging economic times and assured them, “This is a vibrant, internationally recognised and sought-after campus. The Cave Hill Campus is at the vanguard of educational renewal and revitalisation. A UWI education is relevant and required now more than ever.”

Vice Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, also lauded the students for making the decision to pursue higher education.

Stating that in the English-speaking Caribbean, the number of young people involved in higher and tertiary education is the lowest in the hemisphere, he expressed the view that the matriculating students are “heroes to be celebrated for the responsibility you have taken for yourselves, your family, your communities and this Caribbean region.”

While urging them to enjoy all that student life has to offer, Sir Hilary called on the students to take seriously the responsibility of receiving higher education.

“This is not a time in the Caribbean world for joking around,” he advised. “The Caribbean – now, more than ever – we need our young people to be very serious.”

He urged them to participate in all of the big debates and conversations around them, such as how should the region encourage economic growth or revolutionise entrepreneurship.

“Push your university into the future. Stand up and think about what is progressive. How do we put backwardness behind us? How can we put negative thoughts and values behind us? Imagine the Caribbean world you want to have and work towards creating it," he urged.

"Don’t be passive – be an activist youth! That is the only way in your spirit that you are going to feel your responsibility as a citizen of our region and our world.”

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