|Increased enrolment in Science and Technology at UWI |
Thursday, March 23 2017
THE Faculty of Science and Technology at the UWI St Augustine Campus has recorded a 25 percent increase intake in undergraduates boding well for the Caribbean which is currently experiencing low levels of innovation says University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles.
“This is quite phenomenal in terms of the innovation culture,” he said at the opening of the UWI St Augustine Campus Council Meeting on Monday at St Augustine.
Economic historians like himself, he said, know that this period is the innovation age of the Caribbean economy.
“The only way we are going to become more competitive in our industries, reduce costs to become globally competitive, and diversify existing industries to maximise export potential,” he said, “is by reducing costs and increasing productivity through innovation.” In many instances, he said, “it would mean an application of technology but in some instances it means a redesigning of existing strategies.” The main reason why the Caribbean economy appears so sluggish in its recovery from the current economic recession, Beckles said, “is precisely because of the low levels of innovation within our industries, and our private sectors needing to bring more innovation on board.” The UWI, he said, “has to be seen to be in the trenches with its sleeves rolled up pushing the economies out of the doldrums.” Noting that the Faculty of Social Sciences at St Augustine Campus was seeing an expansion and growth in graduate studies outstripping the growth in undergraduate studies, he said, “This is where we want to go in the long term.” The future of the UWI, he said, must be a network of university colleges of national universities operating seamlessly allowing UWI to divest a larger percentage of its undergraduate programmes to its affiliate colleges and institutions, and enabling a transition to the research and graduate level. The Faculty of Social Sciences, he said, “is already leading that way with its magnificent increase in research and graduate programmes.” Noting also that the United Nations Development Programme report for 2016 has observed that the greatest challenge holding back economic development for the region is the extreme levels of inequality in its societies, Beckles said, “As we pursue economic growth — a top priority for our societies — it is vital and equal to deal with the concept of social proof.” He said, “We cannot allow the social growth agenda to slip behind any other priority.
We have to build societies that are stable, sophisticated, elegant, and civil because we have a very difficult