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The newly installed principal of the University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus (UWI FIC), Professor C. Justin Robinson has emphasized that the institution needs to address its financial challenges while continuing to provide a world-class education to Caribbean citizens.
Professor Robinson made these remarks during his induction ceremony, which was attended by UWI Chancellor Robert Bermudez, Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, senior UWI academic and administrative staff, and Education Minister Daryll Matthew.
He noted that during the 2013 financial year, Caribbean governments contributed around US$237.85 million to UWI, but the figure dropped to approximately US$207.35 million ten years later.
He acknowledged that this is a significant amount of money coming from small island developing states.
However, to maintain the provision of a world-class education, the issue of inadequate funding must be addressed.
Professor Robinson stated that the UWI operates in the same economy as everyone else, and with inflation, these amounts are insufficient to sustain the accessible world-class Caribbean university.
To drive this point home, he gave an analogy where he asked his audience to imagine sustaining their households today on an income that is 15% lower than it was in 2013.
Professor Robinson revealed that the senior management at UWI has embraced the challenge of dealing with the funding gap while simultaneously growing and expanding the university.
He encouraged UWI colleagues to embrace the “Revenue Revolution” strategy outlined in the current strategic plan, which aims to generate the financial sustainability required to maintain a world-class Caribbean university.
Professor Robinson believes that the newness of UWI FIC can work to its advantage by creating a culture of entrepreneurship and financial independence from the outset.
During his address, Education Minister Daryll Matthew highlighted the critical role of leadership during this time of transition for the institution.
He expressed confidence that Professor Robinson’s wealth of experience, passion for education, and vision for the future align seamlessly with the values that define UWI.
Matthew also emphasized the importance of reflecting on the strengths and achievements that define the university and anticipating new developments and initiatives that will enhance the educational experience under Professor Robinson’s guidance.