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Time for UWI to rise from its slumber

Published: 
Monday, April 7, 2014

The University of the West Indies (UWI) is a long-standing institution in the society of T&T. Over 3,000 graduates flood the private and public sector each year anticipating their dream job. Today, however, the University has become known not for its academics, but for its yearly Carnival fete. 

 

The Guild of Students elections were once a support system of budding debates, now they are a popularity contest. Suffice it to say, the Guild has become dormant. Their election process is similar to a general election. Students cast their votes for those deemed to be most suited to represent them. What happens after that, no one knows.

 

Dr Eric William’s dream has been lost. Students graduate only to be given jobs in clerical positions like in a conveyor factory line. Free tertiary education, supported by HELP has led to a society of educated paupers. What is worse than having a society of qualified individuals with the only avenue for employment being the On-the-Job-Training Programme? Yes, it is a great programme, but after completing a two year contract, what next?

 

The presence of the university has made St Augustine and the Caribbean a place of excellence. We now stand shoulder to shoulder with international bodies: Oxford University, University of Florida, University of Wales, and the list goes on. Education is a tool for mobility, but after being educated, is the knowledge gained used to help us in any way? The UWI seems to be silent at every corner, only to awaken at the sign of a false papers scandal, or an e-gate backlog. 

 

Yes! Its administration building is filled with undergraduates and prospective students, but after doing a degree are the avenues available for these individuals to express their thoughts? Meritocracy is the agenda of the day—no more do we care about our impact on the future of T&T. The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, is a sub-culture within a culture. It is able to sustain itself by hiring its graduates to replenish its workforce. 

 

Lloyd Braithwaite and George Beckford were famous pioneers who contributed to the development of the UWI, but since then we have not seen any more pioneers emanating from the institution. T&T has lost the vital ingredients of humanity, that being morals and values. Carnival has become one glimpse of hope of unity in our multicultural society, but it’s slowly losing its beauty through the nakedness being displayed. 

 

Art has gone from fabric, to body paint. Graduates from the Faculties of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities are being wasted in the clerical clutters, of bad filing and the lack of databases. They are glad for jobs to achieve some sense of autonomy, but their contributions to society remain minimal. In 1970 the Black Power Movement is said to have originated at the university. Since then it has not made any significant impact on the society other than to facilitate the capitalist system with a human resource. 

 

Wake up, wake up! We have slept too long while our society is being washed down the drain. Mother earth is sick from the blood that fills the streets. Gone are the days of great debates. Our Parliament is now a circus. A pack of card filled with jokers. I think we need a new deck. Wake up my people. Time for UWI to wake up and take its rightful place!

 

 

Timothy Ali, 
MSc Sociology student, 
UWI

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