Friday, April 12, 2024

Kudos to Cave Hill Campus

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There can be no question that the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies has made a massive contribution to this country and the Caribbean ever since it was opened in 1963 – some 50 years ago this year.
If it is true that the greatest asset this country has is its people, then making tertiary level education accessible at little cost at the point of delivery must have been an important fillip to national and personal advancement in these former colonies in the throes of a dying colonialism.
That bold initiative has paid handsome dividends and contributed immensely to the notion that this, our small country, can punch above its weight. We note with some pleasure that the campus has grown and has an exemplary record in the training of many a Barbadian and Caribbean citizen who has gone on to excel in the public service of their countries, with several holding the position of prime minister. Indeed, it is fairly commonplace these days to find that both the prime minister and leader of the opposition are graduates of the university.
An aspect of the campus which needs to be emphasized is the new drive to move it beyond the granting of undergraduate degrees to the increased output in research. It is a matter of record that, teaching apart, the crowning achievements of many a university are its capacity for research and the contribution which such research can make to the improvement of the lives of people.
Many of the new medical techniques and new ways of doing things have emerged from within the halls of academia. Indeed, one does not have to look too far to see what the enquiring mind can fabricate once the framework for potent research exists.
We applaud the drive to greater research output as the campus reaches the important milestone of half a century. One hopes that the research in solar energy will one day emulate the campus’ achievements of producing a faculty member of a Nobel Prize-winning team.
Within recent times the leadership of Sir Hilary Beckles has brought an energy and a dynamism that has emphasized research and has internationalized the campus in such a way that it now contributes immensely to the foreign exchange-earning capacity of this country.
The opening of the Sir Keith Hunte Hall of Residence will enhance this aspect of Cave Hill’s development, as well as honour the long and significant contribution of Sir Keith to the campus. It will cater even more to regional and extraregional students whose numbers have grown within recent times.
In fact, in his speech at the official launch of the 50th anniversary celebrations, Sir Hilary said the campus was now the primary site of internationalism in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, and that 255 of the students hailed from shores beyond Barbados, making the campus the most regional student environment in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. This is an important achievement and augurs well for the immediate and future integration of our people.
We hope that the vision of the policymakers who promoted the idea of the campus and laid the cornerstone for the facilities at Cave Hill on January 26, 1966, will be reflected in the continuing education of leaders with a broad Caribbean vision, and with the determination on graduation to use their education and drive to bring the people of the region together like they were brought together as students of the Cave Hill Campus.

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