University Of Antigua And Barbuda Implementation Committee And UWI Officials Commence Work On The Establishment Of The Institution

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (GIS) — The Committee charged with formulating plans for the establishment of the University of Antigua and Barbuda – College of the University of the West Indies has been charged by Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne to hit the ground running and accelerate the process towards the opening of the University.

Prime Minister Browne made the call at a joint meeting of the National Team responsible for the Establishment of the University of Antigua and Barbuda and officials of the University of the West Indies on Tuesday.  He told the members that his government’s interest in the establishment of the University goes beyond politics, as its establishment is a critical component to supporting the development of the nation’s human resource, which is needed for the advancement of Antigua and Barbuda’s economy.

The country’s leader said that the University of Antigua and Barbuda will not only be established to develop the human resource capital of the country, but will also serve as an education export facility and it is his government’s desire for the facility to open its doors within the first three years of his administration’s first term in office.

Referencing the visiting University of the West Indies, UWI team, Prime Minister Browne said that his government is looking to the UWI for guidance in establishing the University and the programme offerings that can be developed for Antigua and Barbuda and the non-campus countries of the Caribbean.

The Prime Minister indicated that he does not intend for the proposed university to be a copy of the UWI, but a university with niche programmes.   “Such niche developments  could be in a number of areas including the  Executive MBA programme  or Nursing.  Nurses are needed globally and perhaps Antigua could be the mill that produces this critical service for export,” Prime Minister Browne stated.

Professor Alan Cobley; Professor and Pro Vice-Chancellor – Chair of the Board for Undergraduate Studies at UWI who headed the team, which also included Dr. Joel Warrican – Director for Academic Programming and Delivery Division of UWI’s Open Campus and Mr. Ian Benn – Head of the Open Campus Antigua Site, said that the UWI is keen to assist Antigua and Barbuda develop its capacity to deliver tertiary level education, noting that they are committed to the process and are open to ideas on how the partnership can work.

Professor Cobley outlined that their visit to Antigua and Barbuda is the first phase of the process to developing the University.  He noted that a follow up visit will be made by Vice Chancellor Elect, Sir Hillary Beckles who made a presentation to Cabinet earlier this year.  A team of experts will also visit Antigua with the aim of developing the university’s programme offerings.

Minister of Education, the Hon. Michael Browne who attended the meeting, told the gathering that the government has the political and financial power to realize it’s vision, however the team must also be committed to the task and be prepared to carry out its mandate effectively.

The Education Minister also sought the assistance of the UWI professors in the provision of post-graduate studies programmes to develop the teaching pool for the university.

During the meeting, Professor Cobley delivered a presentation which outlined the procedures necessary towards the establishment of the University of Antigua and Barbuda.  Following the presentation, the UWI team visited the proposed site of the University of Antigua and Barbuda in Five Islands, following which they advised that with a number of adjustments the facility can become the nucleus of the university structure.

The National Team comprises stakeholders in the delivery of tertiary level education and government officials.

Fuente: Caribseek News