By Makeida Antonio
A local entrepreneur was among several officials congratulating the recent achievements of the University of the West Indies’ Five Islands Campus.
The fourth-landed campus of the UWI, which was officially opened in Antigua and Barbuda in 2019, increased its international academic standing following the simultaneous launch of the School of Business and Management and the School of Science, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence on Monday.
Delivering the keynote address at the ceremony, CEO of Pegasus Technologies Inc Yves Ephraim said one of the major benefits of having these two important faculties is the ability for businesses to recruit qualified local professionals.
“One of the biggest problems I’ve been having is finding talent because as a leader of an organisation is that the bigger your dreams, the better your team needs to be.
“We really need people locally that are fired up and trained in this industry,” he said during the ceremony on Monday.
Ephraim, who is also the President of the Antigua and Barbuda Chamber of Commerce, challenged the government and its stakeholders to provide a framework in which the soon to be graduands can apply their skills and talents in various sectors across the country.
“What we’re doing here can’t just exist on its own. There has to be a lot of complementary things happening for what you’re doing to really work.
“In other words, you’ve got to have industries. I mean, what’s the point of all this education if you have no industries to absorb it? What’s the point of doing this when the National Development Plan doesn’t support it?” he questioned.
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UWI Five Islands, Professor Densil Williams, told the audience that the programmes passed rigorous vetting allowing for interdisciplinary studies, and credited his colleagues for ensuring that the institution maintains its credibility.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education Daryll Matthew, who was also present at Monday’s ceremony, noted the significance of the return of face-to-face classes to the quality of education being offered at the UWI.
“You cannot have a university without students and to be in an institution where you can interact, you can participate, you can share and you can really experience what I consider to be the joys of fellowship on a university campus where ideas are formed, where lifelong bonds are created; it is truly a priceless thing,” Matthew said.
As of Monday, all schools in Antigua and Barbuda returned to full face-to face learning after two years of hybrid learning using online means or shift systems implemented to avoid crowded classrooms during the Covid-19 pandemic.