The Senate has approved the guarantee of approximately two million dollars of a $12 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank, to the University of the West Indies to finance the university’s Regional Digital Transformation Project.
Leading off debate on the money resolution yesterday, leader of Government Business in the Senate Lisa Cummins said the money was intended to enhance the university’s global competitive advantage, promote the upgrading of its ITC systems, allow for the training of staff and students, allow for the digitalisation of programmes and courses for online access and would ultimately be an investment in cybersecurity protection.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins. (Picture by Reco Moore)
Cummins suggested there was a range of emerging disciplines in whose development the money from such a loan could be invested, so that the skills for the future which will be needed to position the Caribbean for the next phase of development, would be coming through the tertiary level institutions and would be a factor in general education reform.
She told the Senate: “There are a range of emerging disciplines even within our existing disciplines, that now have an opportunity for us to invest in their development, including the safe digitalisation…so that the skills for the future that will position this region into the next wave of our development, will be coming through our tertiary level institutions, will be part of our own approach to education sector reform…so that the future generations of this country are able to evolve into disciplines to work here and to work anywhere in the world.”
Cummins made it clear the Government was neither “spending money on a loan, nor absorbing a loan”.
Instead she explained: “We are simply guaranteeing the UWI who is the entity going forward for the loan that they will repay both the principle and interest and in so doing, that they will contribute to the digitalisation and the transformation digitally of this functional cooperation institution as a flagship institution in the region.” (GC)