ST.JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – The establishment of a fourth campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Antigua and Barbuda has been officially approved and will open its doors in September 2019.
UWI Vice-Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles told a news conference Wednesday that Chancellor Robert Bermudez and Council of the UWI “have formally approved the establishment of a campus of the University of the West Indies in Antigua and Barbuda”.
He said that the approval came “within the wider context of the country’s membership of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)”.
Sir Hilary said that the “Five Islands campus”, as it is being called, will serve the development needs of Antigua and Barbuda as well as the wider OECS sub-region that includes Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis and Montserrat.
The campus will officially open its doors this September, at the beginning of UWI’s school year. It will admit 800 students, a majority of whom are already registered in two-year programmes under a franchise agreement with the Antigua State Community College, and other tertiary institutions.
UWI’s undergraduate programmes currently on offer in Antigua span the areas of humanities, social sciences and technology. Students, however, had to complete their final year of study at one of UWI’s landing campus in Jamaica, Barbados or Trinidad and Tobago.
According to Beckles, this was to be burdensome for many students. “Many have had to take out loans to fund their education away from home; leave their jobs and families”, he said.
Beckles said that one of the main goals of the Five Islands campus to provide “desperately-needed programmes to help sustain economic, human and social development” in Antigua, but also in the wider region.
“In addition to serving the special developmental needs of Antigua and Barbuda, it will provide a hub to enable greater participation in the development agendas of the OECS by the University of the West Indies”.
“Fine public universities, such as the University of the West Indies are not designed or funded to serve themselves. Their mandate is to serve all sections of the communities that support them,” he added.
Antigua and Barbuda now joins Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados where the UWI has landed campuses.