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UWI south campus in Debe beneficial—Kamla
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says many benefits will be derived from the establishment of the University of the West Indies St Augustine South Campus in Debe. Speaking at a dedication of 100 hectares of land ceremony at Debe High School, nextdoor to the UWI site, on Thursday afternoon, Persad-Bissessar said the community would be transformed into a “university town” and generate employment.
She said for too long activities and services had been centralised in and around Port-of-Spain and environs. She added that hundreds of thousands of citizens who “live outside feel marginalised, disadvantaged and neglected.” “For too long our children have spent countless hours on the road trying to get into the university and jobs in Port-of-Spain.” Persad-Bissessar, who reflected on her years spent studying and lecturing at the three UWI campuses in St Augustine, Jamaica and Barbados, said the south campus would be the key driver of change.
The south campus is expected to be the flagship Faculty of Law, and UWI vice chancellor professor Clement Sankat anticipates that by August 2013 some 450 students would be accommodated in the new campus. He said the student enrolment had grown at St Augustine from approximately 7,000 students in 2000 to nearly 17,000 in this academic year, representing 140 per cent growth in the last decade.
However, he said, the campus was only able to offer places to 70 per cent of its highly qualified applicants in 2010/11. Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, in whose constituency the university is being built, said in a subsequent interview that it would be premature to give an estimated cost since design work on the campus has not yet been fully completed. He said funding could come from an “assortment of financial arrangements,” on the international and local sources.
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