The University Grants Committee (UGC) of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) met in a special session at The UWI Regional Headquarters in Mona, Jamaica on November 1, 2018, to receive the special report of a Task Force commissioned to examine alternative models of university funding in light of the challenges facing the existing arrangements.
The UGC meeting chaired by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment of Barbados, Mia Mottley, and attended by government representatives of The UWI’s contributing countries along with members of the University’s executive management, discussed and explored innovative ways to ensure the financial sustainability of university research, teaching, and community service for the future.
Prime Minister Mottley, herself a former Education Minister and University Council member, with twenty years of experience in the financial affairs of the University, expressed concern for its financial health and provided expert insights and leadership in respect of the Task Force’s recommendations.
Among her critical contributions, she called for the establishment of a University Trust Fund to manage The UWI’s wealth potential. This, she suggested, may be initially capitalised if the Governments agree to provide physical assets and other revenue performing assets in lieu of cash. This will help the University in terms of having some of the Governments’ receivables settled.
In his concluding remarks, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles thanked the Task Force for an excellent report, and commended Prime Minister Mottley for her transformational leadership. He was optimistic that “the path discussed and agreed would lead to a new era in the history of the University.”
The special Task Force was established in 2017 in response to the mounting level of arrears owing to the University by regional governments; which was also the subject of a discussion at the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Haiti earlier this year.