The University of West Indies (UWI) has often been viewed as a long-standing partner to Caribbean Governments in fostering integration and development of our people, and forming strategic alliances.
CARICOM member states are now considering establishment of a single market economy. This will mean general removal of all legal and administrative restrictions to trade. Increased competition among these states is therefore inevitable. The ability of member states to survive effects of trade liberalisation will among other things depend on capacity of its human resources and its learning institutions. The role that UWI is playing in enabling people and countries of region to make transition will therefore come under great scrutiny. Many, including graduates of University, believe that ďUWI simply isnít doing enough!Ē
UWIís role has been assessed based on changes in its curriculum, level of intellectual discussion stimulated on topic among people of region and extent to which it has facilitated product development by enhancing regions access to specialised training and technology transfer.
A major criticism levelled against University is that it has failed to employ innovative strategies and radical curriculum engineering in achieving transformation required to strategically address challenges facing region.
To question of whether University has enhanced intellectual capacity of people of region, answer is an emphatic yes. But when asked whether its efforts have equalled those of reputable universities around world, response is not equally convincing.
Caribbean entrepreneurs argue that UWI has not instilled in its graduates, dramatic changes in attitude and perspectives required to assist business sector in confronting challenges of CSME. Amidst a climate of high unemployment among graduates, view is that UWI is not equipping its graduates to seek opportunities for self-employment. Instead, UWI is churning out bookworms that lack entrepreneurial vision!
The question has also been asked about whether University has increased opportunities for regional cooperation in human, economic and social development. No doubt, it has played a critical and significant role in integrating people and countries of region. In fact, it can be argued that UWI has played a pivotal role in advancing spirit of cooperation and integration that has made Caribbean single market a reality. In comparison to ďmuch-laudedĒ CARICOM Federation, continuing achievements of University of West Indies dispel arguments that region cannot unite.