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The University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Islands has received more than 400 applications from nationals of10 Caricom countries who wish to pursue studies the UWI’s fourth landed campus for the 2020/2021 academic year, outgoing principal Professor Stafford Griffith disclosed during a recent Cabinet sitting.

However, the Guild President at the UWI Five Islands, Caleb Gardiner, said that while no conclusions can be made at this time, the growth of the student population will be dependent on varying factors.

“It depends on the course that the students are studying. Students who are studying courses that Five Islands offers, it’s an opportunity for them to stay here and grow our numbers; but if it’s a major that’s not offered here, they will have to leave,” he said.

He added that a lack of resources at the campus such as a law library will be a deterrent.

And with a possible increase in the student population at the Five islands campus, there will also be significant concern about its expansion amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has already begun to have a dramatic effect on tertiary education across the world – and there are already indications that it will affect students within the region.

Gardiner told Observer that students will primarily be affected financially.

“Covid-19 will definitely affect students financially, especially for the students who are working while going to UWI,” he remarked.

Also, addressing the financial impact of Covid-19 on the students, Gardiner said it will take commitment on their part to successfully navigate this difficult period.

Meanwhile, the tenure of Professor Griffith, who was the first principal of The UWI Five Islands Campus has ended.

Professor Griffith was invitedto the recent Cabinet sitting where he was commended for the “sterling service he provided during the academic year just ended to the new Five Islands Campus”, the post-Cabinet notes read.

He was chosen to lead the campus for its initial year of operation from August 2019 as Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

Professor Densil A Williams Griffith is his successor.

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