UWI Told To Also Produce Intellectuals with Good Ideas

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is of the view that the University of the West Indies (UWI) must also focus on turning out intellectuals who have good ideas to carry this region forward.

He expressed this opinion last evening at the closing ceremony to mark the end of the UWI Cave Hill Campus??? 50th Anniversary Celebrations at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination.

Mr. Stuart told his audience: ???The possession of a university degree should begin to mean that its holder is equipped to meet a wide range of intellectual challenges because his mind has been developed to a level that admits of a certain flexibility based on a firm grasp of logic, of sequence and of a basic ethics. Yes, the university will produce professionals and academics. But it must also concentrate on producing intellectuals.

???As I see it, the true intellectual is a man or woman who believes in the generation and elucidation of ideas. He or she has to earn a living and must, of necessity, live off of what he or she knows. But he or she must live also for what he or she knows.???

The Prime Minister contended that developing countries like those in the Caribbean could not afford to lose the battle in the area of ideas.

???We may not win in areas like oil, commodities and military hardware. But we can be equals or, better still, superiors, in the realm of ideas,??? he stressed.

He said there was much ado nowadays about the need to produce graduates who could satisfy the demands of employers in the public and private sectors; however, he suggested that was what he always thought a university should be doing.

???What I find troubling from time to time, though, is when the end result is a graduate so narrow in focus, that he or she gets lost in his or her ???professionalism??? and, taken beyond the immediate perimeters of the specific area of study, that graduate can reflect too little of the roundedness that graduate status should imply,??? he stated.

Mr. Stuart told the gathering that there was a perception that the society had stopped feeling the University and was not hearing from it often enough on critical issues.

???It is the University which should be helping the population to perceive some kind of structure behind the complexity and seeming confusion of life today; some kind of ordered drama behind the daily whirl of events. If the supposedly leading thinkers in our society are not doing this, I ask, who should?

???If Barbados and the Caribbean ever needed clarifying voices it is now. My sense is that these voices are either in too short supply at the university or are certainly too muted. We live in a multidimensional world, and we have to manage even the things that we cannot see by effectively managing the things that we can see,??? he proffered.

The Prime Minister noted that the world in which the University operated in today was vastly different from 1963 when the institution was established.

He pointed out that socially, the region was experiencing a situation where an increasing number of people, across classes, face mounting frustration, hopelessness and insecurity as they seem to be losing control over the forces that determine the quality and content of their lives.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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