By Robert A. Emmanuel
It’s a given that topping the list of concerns for students who will be attending the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) fourth landed campus at Five Islands would be security, reliable Internet service and a modern library.
Speaking at Monday’s press conference at the Ministry of Education, Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles reassured students that the university will continue to work on these areas, particularly Internet service, until it is up to standard.
Professor Beckles revealed that an IT specialist has been brought in from the Mona campus to work on the Internet infrastructure at the Five Islands campus “until it is, to his satisfaction, up and running”.
Sir Hilary also noted that further improvements and investments in the network infrastructure will be made as the technology advances.
Also, recognizing that it will be vital for students to have reliable Internet for various reasons, not least of which will be to get their assignments and to access the online UWI library system, Sir Hilary stated that the development of the UWI Five Islands on-site library will be done in phases.
“There are going to be three levels which we will be tackling this … we have a facility at the campus where we are developing a live physical material capacity and that will clearly take some time to develop.
“It takes a while to build up a library as a physical plan, but the trend in global undergraduate studies is really online libraries and we have put in place the technology at Five Islands to allow for access, not only to UWI libraries, but to other databases, to other sources of material; so there will be no resource shortage for Five Islands students who are going to be collecting data and completing their work,” Professor Beckles said.
The Vice Chancellor also addressed the issue of security on the campus, which has been and continues to be an issue for students at the other landed campuses.
“In the area of security, we will have to increase our security complement and that will be done. We have a culture of security on all of the campuses, we have ratios, we have a model—the number of the guards per students … so the security matter will be dealt with and handled,” he said.