UWI students going to China on software engineering programme

Friday, February 09, 2018

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Twenty-five University of the West Indies (UWI) students at the Mona campus in Jamaica are scheduled to travel to Suzhou, China, later this year to complete the third and fourth year of a joint BSc software engineering programme.

The initiative is the brainchild of UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles who, since 2015, has been pioneering a strategy to establish a UWI Centre in China that will produce a generation of software engineers for Jamaica and the Caribbean in order to lay the foundation for the much-needed digital revolution in the region.

Last Friday, the students and their parents met with Sir Hilary and Minister of Education Senator Ruel Reid to discuss the terms and conditions of their travel.

Minister Reid, to the delight of the students and parents, reaffirmed his commitment to a science and technology scholarship for the Jamaican students who will be meeting in Suzhou counterparts from the UWI's Cave Hill campus in Barbados.

Speaking of the need to support Jamaica's insertion and leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Minister Reid indicated that the scholarship was the Government's way of preparing and investing in the next generation for the task at hand, which is producing skills for developing and sustaining technology parks for industrial transformation.

The initiative, he said, “will help to position Jamaica, the region, and UWI squarely at the centre of the science education system of China and will trigger in the near future a considerable industry alignment with the Chinese economy”.

Sir Hilary noted that the Global Institute of Software Technology in Suzhou, UWI's strategic partner, will receive the students in order for them to complete the programme. While all students are mandated to acquire conversational Mandarin, their classes in China will be conducted in English.

He commended the minister for his critical support and noted that The UWI, with the support of the Government of Jamaica, was implementing the wish of China's president, Xi Jinping, who had agreed with Caricom to facilitate industrial technology transfer to the region during his Caribbean visit in 2015.

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