The Board of the University College met with Cabinet on Wednesday to discuss an agenda and possible challenges to be overcome in transforming the institution into the fourth campus of the University of the West Indies.
Certain capital investments will have to be made in terms of modification of the facilities, Minister of Information, Melford Nicholas said, adding that the modification would take the form of ensuring that certain library facilities and other amenities that have come out of consultation would be put in place over a given period.
The loan application for the physical improvements was submitted many months ago; however, the bank’s lawyer has insisted on making adjustments to the legal guarantee that would be provided by the Government.
“Those funds were subject to certain loans that they had to perfect and those hurdles were discussed and overcome in a latter meeting that we had with the principals who would have ensured that the monies (full $5 million) would be made available to the Board of Education as of today such that they can proceed with the modifications that are necessary.”
The Board of the University College is responsible for the transformation of the several tertiary schools in Antigua and Barbuda into a university. By way of telephone, the Vice Chancellor of the
UWI, Sir Hilary Beckles, reiterated the conclusions reached last year that the cost of operating a UWI campus would be far lower than if there were a University of Antigua and Barbuda. The Board voiced its agreement with the approach of Sir Hilary.
The current plan is to merge several existing schools within the university, and to secure the financing to complete the improvements required at the Five Islands campus.
Minister Nicholas added: “The main legislation will wind its way into parliament to establish the local institution that would be responsible for executing the arrangements with the University of the W.I. and to ensure that all of the matriculation that will be required, would be put in place.
We are expecting that the full functional operation of the first school of the fourth campus of the University of the W.I, the school of nursing would be in full operation as of the September term .”
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