Sat | Sep 23, 2017

UWI, China's GIST create science and technology institute

Published:Sunday | February 21, 2016 | 2:19 PM
From left: Sir Hilary Beckles, vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI); Education Minister Ronald Thwaites; Dr Wang Bin Tai,executive chairman of the Global Institute of Software Technology, Suzhou, China; and Archibald McDonald, principal, UWI Mona, shake hands following the press conference to announce the establishment of the UWI/China Institute of Science and Technology, at the UWI Regional Headquarters yesterday.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Global Institute of Software Technology (GIST) have partnered to set up a UWI/China Institute of Science and Technology this year.

The science and technology institute, to be jointly established, owned and operated by the UWI and GIST, will have its first cohort begin studies towards a BSc in Science and Technology at the UWI, Mona in September 2016.

Speaking at a press conference at the UWI regional headquarters, Mona, yesterday, UWI Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles explained that the institute will utilise a 2+2 model in which students will experience the first two years of instruction at the UWI and the final two years at the GIST in China.

Sir Hilary said "this great project is the first major step of UWI into the global space. We have had relationships with hundreds of universities all over the world over several decades, but this is the first occasion that UWI is partnering with another university to establish a new university ".

"One of the largest nations of the world has now partnered with one of the smallest nations- this is truly significant!" Sir  Hilary declared.

The executive chairman of GIST,  Dr Wang Bin Tai, said the partnership in creating the UWI/China institute to be based in Suzhou "will develop a platform for change between the young people in China and the Caribbean".

He noted, too, that "Caribbean students who complete their degrees in China, will enjoy all the privileges that Chinese students do, including bursaries, scholarships and internships."

Wang expressed hope that the institute would serve to mutually increase knowledge about and appreciation for the history and culture among the people of the Caribbean and China.

Ronald Thwaites, minister of education, said that the government was "in full support of the UWI China Institute of Science and Technology".

Referencing former Prime Minister Michael Manley, Thwaites said "he would be happy today at the way  the relationship between  China and Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean is developing".

The education minister emphasised that "Jamaica's development depends on it becoming a location noted for excellence and innovation in science and technology and this institute is an important step in equipping the Caribbean as centres of study and overall excellence in all fields, and in particular in Science, Technology,  Engineering and Math".