is the conclusion of a presentation made by Dr Bhoendradatt
Tewarie, principal of the St Augustine campus of the University
of the West Indies to the campus council on March 31.
graduate studies at UWI
has been a major shift at St Augustine towards research and
graduate studies; and within graduate studies, we are making
a clear distinction between taught masters degrees to strengthen
professional competence and research degrees to support our
efforts in knowledge creation.
Currently, there are 445 students enrolled in MPhil programmes
and 178 students engaged in PhD work. Close to 2,200 are enrolled
in taught programmes.
A serious attempt is being made to build research around clusters
by drawing interdisciplinary strength to each cluster.
The objective here is to optimise our talents, conduct interdisciplinary
research and attract the brightest and best students to each
cluster or pool.
As we develop clusters and build up our research graduate
cohort, we are also making strategic alliances with partner
institutions facilitating movement back and forth and easy
We also hope to attract talented post doctoral fellows as
part of our campus research enterprise.
The idea here is not just to turn out dissertations and other
publications but to generate ideas that can be patented, commercialised,
yield innovations and generally be converted into revenue.
It might be useful, at this point, to highlight some of the
research areas in which our faculty members are distinguishing
themselves. I can only mention some but the work of each faculty
member is contained in documents circulated.
There are researchers such as Dr C Carrington (medical sciences)
and Dr Dave Chadee (life sciences) who are working on the
possible eradication of dengue fever.
It is likely that a Bill Gates Foundation grant will soon
support their work and align them with an international partner.
Prof Amanda MacRae and PhD students J Ramchandani and A Rogers
are working on the link between diet and neurodegenerative
disorders such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases.
Prof Dyer Narinesingh is working on the development of novel
sensitive devices utilising immobilised enzymes which can
produce microdevices that may be implanted into patients to
monitor things that might be critical to a patients
The health economics unit is working on a national human development
report for T&T under the auspices of the UNDP and recently
received funding from the government for its expansion in
addition to a World Bank grant for the construction of office
The centre for gender and development studies is researching
gender differentials in the secondary and tertiary levels
of educational systems in the anglophone Caribbean.
Prof Karl Theodore just completed a UNDP project entitled,
Responding to HIV/Aids Crisis: Towards a Determination of
National and Regional Resources Mobilisation Capability.
Dr Ranjit Singh recently conducted an evaluation of competitiveness
of selected agricultural commodities in Caricom for the Caricom
Secretariat and together with Drs Rankine and Seepersad, did
the technical preparatory work on marine fisheries resources
for Caribbean governments prior to the WTO negotiations.
The cocoa research unit, in conjunction with the USDA, continues
to advance the project of developing a DNA finger printing
database for all major cocoa collections in the Americas.
Prof Zulaika Ali is working on the early life origins of adult
The public education programme of the campus has become more
vigorous with each passing year.
Inaugural professorial lectures have now been institutionalised
as has our distinguished lecture series.
There are a number of initiatives at faculty and departmental
level geared to particular audiences and interests, most of
which are open to the public.
In addition, conferences have proliferated each year. Some
are managed at campus level, others at faculty and departmental
Participation by the public is always encouraged and dissemination
of information is facilitated by the effective use of mass
media as well as strategic use of our campus publications,
UWI Today and STAN.
This university has had a strong tradition of public service
since its inception and the St Augustine campus over the last
five years has not only been true to that tradition but we
have collectively gone out of our way to serve the public
interest and to do public good.
Recently I received a letter from the head, curriculum division,
Ministry of Education, thanking staff for the contribution
they had made to the reform of curriculum in the secondary
school system and a very recent follow-up letter to me from
the programme manager, education qualitative improvement asking
for further support which we are more than happy to provide.
I also received, quite recently, a letter of thanks from the
permanent secretary, Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary
Education, for work which some of our faculty had done on
human resource issues related to the construction sector.
What is clearly evident here is that we not only do public
service and support public policy but that we are also regarded
by the Government as a knowledge resource and a reliable partner
Any view to the contrary will not stand up to scrutiny and
would be refuted out of hand by the available evidence.
In that particular curriculum assessment exercise many of
my colleagues took time from their overburdened schedules
to work in teams and to provide quality responses to the Ministry
of Education in a time of need.
And all of this, I need not tell you, is pro bono work which
is not merely a gift to the Government and our country but
also represents an opportunity cost to each individual involved
in such exercises.
In my own particular case, I served as chairman of the Vision
2020 subcommittee on tertiary education with other colleagues
from the University of the West Indies as well as with colleagues
from other tertiary level institutes.
This is the policy document that we produced which was integrated
into the Vision 2020 policy document prepared by the IOB,
now Arthur Lok Jak Graduate School of Business.
In addition, I serve as a member of the National Commission
for Unesco and I serve two regional institutions. I am a member
of the Caribbean Examinations Council Board and a board member
of the Caribbean Court of Justice Trust Fund.
I served as chairman of the National Institute of Higher Education,
Research Science and Technology (Niherst) for six years and
during the period facilitated the creation of Costatt, wrote
a rationale for the creation of the NTA which was used to
establish that institution which plays a major role in unconventional
training today and facilitated all the foundation work which
lead to the creation of the accreditation council of T&T.
You have an idea now of some of my contributions as well as
those of my colleagues whom I mentioned earlier, but I want
to let you know that the deputy principal has served on a
cabinet-appointed committee related to tertiary education
and distance learning and close to 70 members of faculty on
this campus serve government and government institutions in
a direct way as part of their contribution to national and
Prof Sankat, for instance, was responsible for science and
technology policy in the Vision 2020 exercise.
So UWI St Augustine is very much a public service university.
We are happy to be such an institution and pleased whenever
we are called upon to play our part in public policy and public
The road ahead
As we look to the next five years, we anticipate the establishment
of a number of key institutes and centres strategically designed
to drive curriculum, foster innovation, attract the best talent
and influence output quality.
We look forward to the full functioning of the institute for
critical thinking within the next few months.
We look to the transformation of the instructional development
unit into a major centre for the training of tertiary level
teachers within the framework of leadership and entrepreneurship.
We also look forward to the full functioning of the centre
for biological diversity, we look forward to the construction
of the film, animation and media laboratory in due course
and we are anxious to see a centre for entrepreneurship and
innovation get off the ground.
All of this will help to strengthen what we have already begun,
providing critical and creative thinkers for the society who
are sensitive to the environment and its ecology and will
not sacrifice sustainable development for growth, who will
carry with them an entrepreneurial outlook and who will be
appreciative of the role of technology in society and development
even if they have been educated in the humanities or the arts.
Moreover, we hope to be a centre for tertiary level teacher
training supporting the thrust for quality teaching and learning
throughout the tertiary sector regionally.
We envisage an internationalising campus, but also one in
which more of our students are exposed to education abroad
during their undergraduate years in a world in which a local
education is too provincial, without international exposure
We foresee a more financially independent campus in which
our revenue streams are more diversified and our dependence
on government reduced.
We will strive always to get the optimum value from communications
technology and other technological innovations.
We anticipate greater collaboration across the three campuses
and we envisage a consortium of universities worldwide with
whom we have strong, meaningful and sustainable alliances
which benefit students at both undergraduate and graduate
levels and faculty, especially those dedicated to research.
We see the campus playing an even greater role in development
nationally and regionally and we also see ourselves influencing
public policy as well as private sector innovation.
We will also work assiduously to make a valid contribution
to the worlds knowledge pool while responding effectively
to the challenge of development in our own region.
There is a direct link between higher education quality and
development itself and I therefore close with a quotation
from a book written a couple decades ago by Lawrence Harrison:
makes development happen is our ability to imagine, theorise,
conceptualise, experiment, invent, articulate, organise, manage,
solve problems and do a hundred other things with our minds
and hands that contribute to the progress of the individual
and of humankind.
resources, climate, geography, history, market size, governmental
policies and many other factors influence the direction and
pace of progress. But the engine is the human creative capacity.
Let the St Augustine campus remain the learning society which
nurtures human creative capacity and endeavour. And let us
always remember that this will only be possible under conditions
In closing I thank my colleagues in administration, our faculty
members, our hardworking staff at all levels, our students
and our four unions for making the last year, in particular,
and the last five years, in general, years of achievement
and progress for this campus, institution, country and region.
This has been a time in which we really stretched into the
future to reach higher heights.
I thank the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education
and the Government for their guidance on occasion and its
financial support over the years and we look forward to a
continuing fruitful relationship.
I thank former vice chancellor Rex Nettleford for his unstinting
support of my stewardship and this campus as well as former
chancellor Sir Shridath Ramphal.
And I thank vice chancellor Harris for his support, advice
and guidance and chancellor Sir George Alleyne for his support,
counsel and wisdom.
The achievements of this St Augustine campus are the collective
achievements of an evolving learning community.
It is my hope that over time more and more people will make
their presence and impact felt as more and more people become
part of a band wagon but one capable of cerebration, which
will assist us in thinking our way through to progress.