by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – As part of its 75th Anniversary, the University of the West Indies (UWI) hosted a Higher Education Forum on Thursday, July 20.
The theme of the education forum was Beyond 75 – Vision, Strategy and Leadership for Higher Education and brought together partner institutions and other critical regional figures to discuss the future of higher education in the region.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Hon. Dr Terrance Drew, was the keynote speaker for the education Forum and underscored the importance of the education sector’s ability to respond to unexpected changes.
“We are not insignificant in the global landscape. The education sector is a critical player in all that we do. I refer to all levels of education, early childhood, primary, secondary, post-secondary, technical and vocational training, continuing professional education and experiential learning, which we can now assess for entry into formal education programs. Not a mere cliche, education is everybody’s business and responsibility. We must pay keen attention to the entire sector, how we envision it, how we resource the sector and ensure that we achieve the vision. How responsive and agile we must ensure that the education sector can be to respond to unexpected changes. How well the education sector can adapt to the ever-evolving technological advancements? How well is education translating to civic participation, economic advancement, voting, health outcomes, [and] equitable societies? These are only just a few factors we must consider.”
The Prime Minister noted on St. Kitts and Nevis’ end some of the initiatives implemented in the Federation to make education more accessible, including free admission for natives at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, the One to One laptop Program and more.
“To deliver the New Deal that we promised in the education sector, the Ministry of Education’s new leadership has examined ongoing programs with the goal of reducing gaps and enhancing delivery efficiency. We take education seriously, and as such, we are seeking to partner with several universities regionally and internationally to ensure that our people have full access to higher learning opportunities. Our people are the raison d’etre for all that we, as heads of government, do, contrary to what some might believe. But we cannot do it alone. It will take a concerted, collaborative effort. The education sector itself, the supporting institutions, and governments working together to ensure that we achieve all that we set out to do.”
The event also featured presentations from UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, University Registrar Dr Maurice D. Smith and representatives from partner organisations, including the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education (CANQATE), CARICOM and the CARICOM Private Sector Organisation.
The Jubilee Week of celebrations ran from July 17 to 22, 2023, and was a special feature in the yearlong list of activities in honour of The UWI’s 75th anniversary.
See full address below: