The University of The West Indies Five Islands Campus has officially launched its newest schools as it continues to provide high-quality education to Antigua and Barbuda as well as the wider OECS region.
The new schools, the School of Business and Management (SoBM) and the School of Science, Computing and Artificial Intelligence (SoSCAI) were officially launched on Monday, March 14, 2022.
Speaking at the launch ceremony held at The UWI’s Five Islands Campus, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Five Islands Campus, Professor Densil Williams noted that in order to survive and compete in today’s global environment, it is important to build institutions such as these new schools that will help to address the needs of the country and the region.
“The new schools were derived from a deliberate strategy to operate in the global marketplace. The new worker that will be required in the 21st century will have to be able to intersect across various disciplines and bring diverse knowledge and problem-solving skills.” he stated.
Professor Williams explained that the new schools would produce the leaders needed for a globally competitive economy.
He noted that following the review of the campus by the UWI Quality Assurance Team and its proposals regarding the School of Management, Science & Technology, the decision was made by the Campus to establish these new schools, which were set up by a team under the leadership of the Director of Academic Affairs, Dr. Curtis Charles. He proposed that the country and region would benefit greatly from the new schools through the “path-breaking” programmes that would be offered.
Delivering the keynote address, President of The Antigua and Barbuda Chamber of Commerce, Mr Yves Ephraim contended that the new schools were an important part of a larger framework to develop the country.
Speaking on the topic “Technology and Business: Educating our future leaders for a globally competitive Antigua & Barbuda and OECS”, Ephraim, who is the Managing Director of Pegasus Technologies Inc., noted that there had to be a change in the national development plans across the OECS, which were based on colonial models.
He stated that there were key lessons to be learned including a change in the strategy for entering industries that were not subject to scrutiny and blacklisting by developed countries as well as the support of government and key stakeholders in developing the infrastructure to support new industries especially through telecommunications and technology.
Mr Ephraim expressed his pleasure at having these schools train new talent for the local market thereby addressing one of the major challenges in the recruitment of well-trained nationals in the areas of business and technology.
He also suggested that there would be opportunities for entrepreneurship which could assist in tackling issues that were affecting the local and regional economies including unemployment.
Minister of Education and Sports, Honourable Daryll Matthew voiced his support for the new schools as they were critical in the transformation of the economies of Antigua and Barbuda as well the sub-region.
He noted that while there was competition from schools regionally and internationally, the programmes at The Five Islands Campus were “cutting edge, well accredited as a part of an internationally recognised institution and meet the needs of our developing fortunes.” He contended that the benefits from the new schools would help build the human capital in the country and that would have a local and global impact.
Minister of Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications & Information Technology, Honourable Melford Nicholas also welcomed the launch of the new schools especially the School of Science, Computing and Artificial Intelligence (SoSCAI).
He spoke of Antiguans who were benefitting from working in the technology sector and expressed that expectations for not only workers but entrepreneurs in the new areas. He also noted there was scope for the graduates from these new programmes to create new opportunities especially from SoSCAI graduates to create content and monetise the cultural assets of the Caribbean.
The ribbon cutting for the launch was done by the Chairman of The Campus Council of The UWI Five Islands Campus Mr. Aziz Hadeed.
The new schools began operations on August 1, 2021. The new School of Business and Management is headed by Mr. Hyram Forde while Dr. Curtis Charles will act as Interim Head of the School of Science, Computing and Artificial Intelligence.
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