Thursday 3 December, 2020

Urgent measures needed to assist UWI students

(L-R) Principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau; winner of the Optimist International Essay Contest, Akilah Jordan-Watson; Member of Optimist Club of Barbados, Bridgetown, Dr Carol Jacobs; Secretary/Treasurer, Optimist International, Marlene Hercules; Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at the   University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus, Dr Colin Depradine.

(L-R) Principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau; winner of the Optimist International Essay Contest, Akilah Jordan-Watson; Member of Optimist Club of Barbados, Bridgetown, Dr Carol Jacobs; Secretary/Treasurer, Optimist International, Marlene Hercules; Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus, Dr Colin Depradine.

Don't forget how much the University of the West Indies has done for you.

That is the appeal made by the Principal of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau.

She was speaking during the Optimist International Prize Presentation Ceremony at that campus today, as student Akilah Jordan-Watson was awarded for topping the essay competition. The first-year student in the Faculty of Science and Technology was presented with US$2,500.

Professor Barriteau praised Jordan-Watson as being a clear representation of the well-rounded students who attend the university, stressing that she will be one of many to positively impact the region as she continues on this path, as she declared to Jordan-Watson, "You display all the qualities of a leader". 

The principal however noted that some young persons will not be able to fulfil this potential because of financial constraints, using herself as an example. She recalled that her mother would not have been able to send her to university without the help of scholarships. She further stated that while the university has put measures in place to assist persons financially, it is also facing economic challenges which dictates how much assistance can be offered. This is why she raised concerns about higher education becoming something only the elite in Barbados will be able to obtain:

"I'm really worried that if the trend continues, higher education ... only an elite will be able to afford it. Because we know in Barbados the economy is tight, people are trying and they are doing their best, but parents often make sacrifices and sometimes it is a choice now between whether it is one child that can go, whether it is two who can go or whether none can go."

She therefore urged more businesses and service organisations such as Optimist International to offer scholarships to potential students, as the recent removal of Government subsidies for Barbadian students may result in an even more drastic decline in the number of local students attending the university:

"We are very proud that there are organisations like Optimist International providing scholarships for students. We are extremely grateful for that because the Cave HIll Campus cannot do it alone," she said. "Use your positions of leadership - whether you're in Government or the public sector to assist other students because that scholarship that the Optimists have made available for Akilah helps her and her parents to ensure that she gets that degree in Biochemistry and that she goes on to all the other wonderful things later."

Professor Barriteau urged businesses and service organisations to remember how they have benefited from the university and help others achieve this as well:

"So I am really hoping that the persons who have benefited from a UWI education - whether it is Cave Hill, Mona, St Augustine, the Open Campus - will use their influence and resources to continue to pave the way in whatever ways they can for others to benefit similarly."

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