KINGSTON, Jamaica — The University of the West Indies (UWI) has announced the official recognition of its degrees in China.

In correspondence to The UWI vice-chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles, dated December 15, 2016, Ambassador Niu Qingbao, of the embassy of China in Jamaica, affirmed The UWI’s status as an approved university by the ministry of education of China.

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This landmark development signals that UWI degrees are now accepted by China’s highest education authorities; an acknowledgement of the regional institution’s high quality; compatible to the standards met by other internationally renowned universities in the UK, EU, US and Canada, which have sought to establish themselves in China.

It paves ‘a silk road for education’, fostering deeper collaboration between the Caribbean and China; as both Caribbean students as well as Chinese students studying at any of The UWI’s campuses, now have the assurance that their degrees will be accepted by future Chinese employers.

Remarking on the achievement which now strengthens The UWI’s links with China, Beckles contextualized it as a tangible result of over one year of diligent work by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, with support from regional governments, especially those in Jamaica, Barbados, and Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and their embassies in Beijing, in order to engage Chinese officials in respect of the global accreditation and academic standing of The UWI; and expressed his appreciation for the support as The UWI moves to consolidate its academic presence in China.

He said, “This is a benchmark development in the internationalization of The UWI. China is a key strategic partner for us as we seek to diversify and globalize the UWI experience. Having Chinese students among us enhances the exposure of our students and expands the network of global contacts they will have upon graduation.”

In September of 2016, The UWI admitted its first cohort in a bi-culturally designed BSc Software Engineering programme with its Chinese partner, the Global Institute of Software Engineering (GIST). The inaugural programme boasts a total of 40 students studying at The UWI’s Mona and Cave Hill campuses, who will complete their final two years of the 2+2 degree programme in China.

Conversely, Chinese students registered at the GIST in Suzhou, China will journey to The UWI to complete the last two years of their degree. Students in the BSc Software Engineering programme have the unique advantage of the award of double credentials — a diploma from GIST and a bachelor’s degree from The UWI. In January 2017, a UWI-delegation is carded to visit Suzhou, to finalize plans for the creation of a UWI Institute in China.

This recognition by China, through its ministry of education, provides further validity of The UWI’s educational offering, and will be an important catalyst to recruiting more students from China, and elsewhere.

Applications are now open for the second intake to the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology’s BSc Software Engineering programme.

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