Higher Education in the Caribbean: Past, Present and Future Directions

Higher Education in the Caribbean: Past, Present and Future Directions

Higher Education in the Caribbean: Past, Present and Future Directions

Higher Education in the Caribbean: Past, Present and Future Directions


Higher Education in the Caribbean assesses the role the University of the West Indies has played since its inception in providing tertiary education to the peoples of the Caribbean and evaluates the future of the institution as it enters the twenty-first century. The work is a significant contribution to the literature in this important area of Caribbean scholarship.

The collection was written to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the University of the West Indies in 1998. Contributors address such complex issues as tertiary education in the light of the rapid advances in technology that characterized the last decades of the twentieth century, demands from the political directorate for more relevant course offerings, and the challenges of managing processes of institutional change.


In every country in the Commonwealth Caribbean determined efforts are being made to establish higher education institutions or increase the capacity of existing ones. There is a sense of urgency that informs these developments. That sense of urgency was clearly reflected in the statement of goals contained in the strategic plan for human resource development endorsed by the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community meeting in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in July 1997. The commitment to increase the level of participation in tertiary education from its annual state of less than 8 percent to 15 percent of those graduating from secondary schools, and to achieve this by 2005, clearly indicates that the heads of government recognize the need for the region to catch up with its competitors.

The University of the West Indies, in its Strategic Plan for the period 1996-2005, is seen to be responding to the urgent need to increase quantity and improve the quality of programmes in higher education. The university expresses its commitment to forming strategic alliances with other universities and colleges in the region and to using a variety of distance education delivery modes to achieve the desired result in a cost effective manner.

Given the magnitude of this undertaking and the need for the region to provide quality education through a variety of institutions and delivery modes, the publication of these essays on higher education is most timely. The essays identify and examine the issues that influenced the development of the present system of higher education. They demonstrate that there are important lessons to be learned from our relatively short but sustained effort to provide higher education to the region over the past fifty years. The essays are a valuable contribution to the continuing search for solutions to the problems faced by colleges and universities that are being asked to provide more with less.

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