Deputy Principal at the University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus, Professor Rhoda Reddock says that Caribbean nationals should have a greater level of respect for the standard of UWI.
This comes after concerns were raised by students in Antigua and Barbuda following the announcement by the government that the popular Prime Minister’s scholarship will now only be afforded to students studying at one of the UWI campuses.
Reddock, while speaking during a Sunday afternoon interview said that even successful past students from the University undervalue the institution.
“I think that for example, many persons graduated from the UWI and are now in excellent positions internationally and for many of them, their children will not attend UWI so I think really and truly we have been undervaluing the UWI degree for years,” she said
According to Reddock many students are misinformed as to the opportunities afforded at the University and as such are turned away to international institutions. She said this is another issue being faced by the region where Caribbean students pursing first degrees internationally, tends not to return.
” I think there is a limited understanding of the UWI and what it offers and I think that what we have to provide is opportunities to get international experience but also to get the best value for money and I do believe that the UWI under the current economic challenges of the region provide excellent value for money.
Based on our studies and research we have found that students who do a first degree abroad are less likely to return to the region, whereas we find that students who do to do a second degree abroad are more likely to return,” she added.
Meantime, Principal of the Antigua State College (ASC), Hyram Forde said that beneficiary’s should begin to realize the high cost of tertiary education and assist in footing the bill. He said they should refrain from solely depending on government or institutions to provide scholarships.
“I am firmly of the view that beneficiaries need to contribute to their own professional development and advancement. And, I am not aware that there are any agencies in Antigua that offers the full cost of the programmes being pursued, and therefore, as necessity, one has to get support from family or otherwise,” Forde said.
He stated further, people must realise that there is a beneficiary cost and beneficiaries must put something into finishing their respective degrees.
Reddock noted that similar issues have been experienced at the UWI campus in Trinidad & Tobago where the University has to step in to aid students who fall short financially.