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EDITORIAL: Much expected from UWI graduates


EDITORIAL: Much expected from UWI graduates

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IT IS NO secret that the University of the West Indies (UWI) is facing dire economic times. The situation is unlikely to improve as long as the university remains dependent primarily on funding from regional governments. Without exception, they are facing severe economic challenges that will restrict the public funding that was once readily available.

New avenues of funding must be explored, which is why this week’s UWI’s Global Giving Week is such an important undertaking. It should instigate nostalgia about the times for the thousands who attended the Cave Hill, St Augustine or Mona campuses; it should remind them of their “best days”, but most importantly it should highlight the importance of giving back to the institution which gave them such a solid foundation.

The UWI is a public institution that has provided a relatively cheap pathway to success by way of a quality higher education for those who have studied there. This is why it is a case of to whom much has been given, much is expected.

For those who have completed their UWI studies and have made significant progress in their chosen profession, this is the ideal time to support the university in its time of financial need. It is also an opportunity to ensure others can get an opportunity to fulfil their academic dreams. One’s contribution does not have to be only monetary, even though cash is the UWI’s greatest need. A gift of time in areas of specific expertise can be beneficial, as would be the bequest of a portion of an estate.

Our parliamentarians, from either side of the aisle, as opinion leaders should take an active and public lead in this exercise even if not alumni of the college. They need to publicly align themselves with this exercise by making a financial pledge and showing their commitment to higher education.

But the leadership of the UWI must also publicly make a statement in this gift-giving exercise. They must lead by example, which is why pro vice chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles should make a public monetary pledge in Barbados. He should lead a roll call of the senior academic and professional staff on campus in donating to this cause. This is why the position taken by principal of the Cave Hill campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau, to publicly donate is to be lauded.

We applaud former Prime Minister Owen Arthur for leading the local appeal and expect that he would have devised a meaningful fund-raising plan. His efforts should hopefully result in substantial sums being pledged and donated over a specific time frame.

It is an opportunity to show that we are willing to help ourselves and not wait on the generosity of others. It is also a time to stop reflecting on yesteryear and looking to the input from Government. That is an era gone. Barbadians need to open their pocketbooks and support a worthwhile cause.