UWI, Guyana govt negotiating to train 20,000 Guyanese in five years

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 November 2020, 6:03 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana government has asked the University of the West Indies (UWI) to train 20,000 Guyanese over the next five years, the regional tertiary institution said it is is set to begin discussions  with a number of ministers on getting the project off the  ground.

“The UWI is currently negotiating an agreement with the government of Guyana to help to train up to 20,000 nationals over the next five years, through The UWI Open Campus. This represents an opportunity not only to help build a fellow CARICOM nation’s capital infrastructure for economic, social and cultural development, but also to bring the University’s internationally recognised brand of excellence into the country,”  UWI said in a statement.

One of the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic’s campaign promises is to provide 20,000 scholarships to Guyanese.

UWI said it was invited by President Irfaan Ali to help drive Guyana’s human resource strategy, and soon a meeting involving government representatives would be held. The strategy was discussed by the Guyanese leader and UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Hillary Beckles on Thursday, November 5 in a virtual meeting. Dr. Ali has called upon The UWI to be “very aggressive” in producing the business plan that will allow it to deliver. He has identified all areas of human resource development that Guyana is urgently in need of. In response, Vice-Chancellor Beckles has assured the President that The UWI sees Guyana as part of its environment.

Professor Beckles is reportedly confident that the Council of the UWI will endorse this worthwhile and much-needed project. He has already spoken with The UWI’s Chancellor, Mr. Robert Bermudez, who agrees that it must and should be undertaken.

Describing Guyana’s future as “exciting, sustainable, and on the cutting edge of Caribbean governance,” UWI boasted that the diversity and richness of  its academic programmes, which have been carefully curated over decades, is well suited to help support the people of Guyana during this phase of their development.

Vice-Chancellor Beckles is excited by this “grand invitation” to enter Guyana to assist with its rebuilding process, thus helping the people of Guyana to meet their full potential as members of one of the most dynamic states in the region. He says, “This is as exciting as anything we have done in any region in the world, because we are on the margin of one of the largest societies, one of the biggest economies and, arguably, one of the most dynamic going forward.”

The premier regional tertiary institution said the collaboration between UWI and Guyana is particularly exciting in the context of The UWI’s Triple A Strategy, which focuses on revitalising Caribbean development through the application of three areas of focus: Access, Alignment and Agility.

Guyana several decades ago pulled out as a contributing member to the UWI.

The University of Guyana has been struggling to attract and retain lecturers at salaries comparable to those being paid by UWI and other universities in the Caribbean.