By Aabigayle McIntosh
One of the most remarkable highlights in the last couple of years has been witnessing individuals who fell short of meeting admission criteria at other educational institutions in the country thrive within the Lifelong Learning Unit at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Paula CM Lee, the Executive Director of the Unit, shared her initial apprehensions during the project’s inception.
She confessed feeling a sense of overwhelm, as if she were compelling adults to engage in learning. Nevertheless, her perspective changed overtime.
Her transition from skepticism to unwavering commitment evolved after witnessing a series of success stories from participants enrolled in the professional development courses.
These achievements have not only underscored the Unit’s effectiveness but have also reinforced Lee’s sense of purpose.
The impact of these success stories has solidified her conviction that fostering adult education is a true calling.
“There is a particular lady who did not graduate from primary school in her country of origin, she was so concerned that she would not pass the course. However, when she received the results, her husband, sister, and everyone started planning to come from abroad to attend the graduation.
“We think that a certificate of proficiency is meaningless in some instances because we are academia and we are accustomed to learned people and we are accustomed to the PhD’s and the Masters and whatever else,” Lee said.
“There are individuals who have nothing, absolutely nothing and so earning a certificate of proficiency, especially when your family members know you might have been a bit slow or delayed, is a big occasion”.
As the woman shared her personal journey, Lee said she found herself moved to the brink of tears by the heartfelt account.
Lee went on to reveal that the woman’s narrative has ignited a newfound aspiration within her – to enroll in the University’s Nursing program.
Established in August 2021, the Lifelong Learning Unit offers a spectrum of professional development courses aimed at empowering adult learners. These courses, accompanied by valuable credentials, provide a gateway for individuals to enhance their skills and knowledge.
Beyond its course offerings, LLU also extends its services to those who have already achieved credentials, enabling them to engage in a continuous learning experience.
The diverse range of courses, including subjects such as Communications: The Art of Persuasive Speaking and Writing, Procurement Supply Chain and Logistics, Digitalizing the Financial Sector, International Relations, Entrepreneurship: The Power of an Idea, and Property Management 1 and 2, cater to various interests and career paths.
Lee also encouraged potential facilitators to submit their resumes.
“I am always on the hunt for teachers/facilitators because good, better, best. That’s what you can do for Antigua and Barbuda and you are paid, unless you want to volunteer your services,” Lee said.
Registration is now ongoing for the courses, some of which begin in September.