UWI pursues Global Online Campus

UWI pursues Global Online Campus

Saturday, November 28, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The University of the West Indies (UWI) is pursuing a Global Online Campus, leveraging the reputation of the regional university.

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, UWI Vice-Chancellor, made the announcement during a virtual media engagement on Thursday.

The move forms part of The UWI's Triple A Strategy (Strategic Plan 2017-2022), which identifies the digital transformation of the 72-year-old university as a key strategic objective.

Beckles said that when UWI transitioned to emergency remote teaching and learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic — which accelerated its strategic intentions — executive management realised that the institution had risen to embrace technology relatively smoothly.

“Despite the suffering and harm that the virus brought to our society, it represented a backwind for us to go forward into the future aggressively.

“Technology has liberated us through its application over the past couple months. We can now see clearly what the next step has to be, the transformation of our online capability. We have fully embraced the remote online academic culture and can see the way forward with a global online campus with 50,000-100,000 global self-funding students by 2022. We have to convert, upgrade and develop this online capacity, which we now have.

“The infrastructure of our Open Campus has provided the university with a head start. We have to follow the logic to allow online remote teaching and capability to go global even more aggressively. We have gone through the research and concluded that the next step is our Global Online Campus.”

The UWI, now representing the region in the digital/tech space, is positioned to leverage this opportunity as a revenue base for the region; foreign exchange earnings; the internationalisation of Caribbean higher education sector and promotion of the Caribbean on world stage following the global market model adopted for the Caribbean's tourism and petrochemical industries.

Beckles explained that the new Global Online Campus dovetails with the university's successful global strategy. Since the start of the Triple A Strategy, The UWI has effectively established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

These partnerships include the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry; the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow; and a research centre with the European University Institute (EUI).

The vice-chancellor also alluded that expansion into Australia is on the horizon for UWI, which is currently recognised as number one in the Caribbean by Times Higher Education and has been consistently ranked among the best in the world for the past three years.

Earlier this year the international rankings agency also placed The UWI in the top one per cent of its Golden Age University Rankings (the best universities established for more than 50 years, but less than 80 years).

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