Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Sir Hilary Beckles alongside Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau.

Sir Hilary: Best is yet to come

Despite the challenges over the years, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has kept going.

In fact, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is assuring the people of this region that the ‘best is yet to come’.

This he expressed during yesterday’s press briefing to highlight The UWI making its mark on the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, coming in at 591 out of the best 1 258 universities. It is also the only Caribbean institution on the world-wide list. This puts The UWI in the elite band of the top five per cent of universities worldwide based on data showing that there are over 25 000 recognised universities, globally.

“We can say to the tax payers of the Caribbean, who have sacrificed and who have had confidence in this University over 70 years that they have received value for money. We can hold our heads high and say to our tax payers and thank them for their investment in this University. That we in turn have given you an institution that you can be proud of,” he said.

“This is one university with one legacy, with one vision, with one mandate – having laid the infrastructure and developed a management concept around that, the One UWI is now ready to perform at a much higher level than hitherto imagine, simply because we can now mobilise the entire legacy of the UWI.”
According to Sir Hilary, The UWI, has produced global “heavy weights” in every discipline, “It is this legacy that we were able to marshal and place before the Times Higher Education ranking agency.”

However, the Vice-Chancellor admitted that there was some doubt as to whether they should go for the global ranking.

“There are over 25 000 universities in the world and the Times Higher Education will be evaluating maybe the best 5 000 of them,” he pointed out.

“The argument was made that if we did this and the numbers did not work out, it would further suppress morale within UWI. We’ve been having tremendous difficulty with our budgets, difficulty with collection of receivables, and of course with all these difficulties and the students have had to find even more in most of our societies – that uninspiring ranking would suppress morale within our academy and that was a significant risk that we had to take cognisance of.”

“We were told that our rankings were phenomenal, that no university in its first engagement with Rankings has broken into the top five per cent of the finest universities in the world. We are mobilising for our next rankings and the one after that. We have to sustain this ranking,” he further stressed. (TL)

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