ST. AUGUSTINE: The University of the West Indies (UWI) is expanding its presence in the eastern Caribbean by erecting a new campus.
Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Professor Nigel Harris and Prime Minister of Grenada Tillman Thomas, recently signed documents formalizing the grant of 88 acres of land to the university for the campus.
Facilities planned for the new site will be managed by the UWI’s Open Campus, which oversees the distance learning initiatives of the university.
The recently launched Open Campus is a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean.
At the signing ceremony, Thomas said the campus would be a “significant investment in the future of the people of Grenada” and that it would make education accessible to “all our citizens”.
Professor Harris thanked the government of Grenada and emphasized the UWI’s commitment to expand its outreach and bring the university to students “who could not easily come to us”.
The new facilities in Hope, St. Andrews (in the north-eastern section of the island) will be a multi-purpose site comprised of an agricultural research station and teaching, conference and event facilities. Clearing and construction is expected to begin in the next few months.
Specific plans for the development of the Grenada site are being discussed by the Office of the Vice Chancellor in collaboration with the Senior Management of the Open Campus, led by Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Open Campus, Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald and Head of the Grenada site, Dr. Curtis Jacobs.
“This land grant is the culmination of more than six years of negotiations over the life of the previous and present governments of Grenada,” said Dr. Jacobs. “It is in keeping with the recommendations of the 2005 UWI Chancellor’s Report on Governance to have a ‘university campus presence’ in each of the UWI-12 countries (the 12 Caribbean nations that do not have UWI campuses) and marks the beginning of a new era in the relationship between the UWI and the government of Grenada in particular, and the UWI-12 countries in general.”
The endowment to the UWI follows recent gifts of land by the governments of Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica.
The UWI has an enrolment of 40,000 students spread over main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago; centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines.