Dr. Justin Robinson receiving the award for Best Applied Research Project from Minister of Education and Human Resource Development,??Ronald Jones. The project was titled ‘Barbados Transport Board Route Analysis and Service Quality Project’ and undertaken by Dr. Robinson,??Dion Greenidge and Dwayne Devonish.

University students, researchers and their lecturers have been told that they must do more to educate the nation and the world despite economic and political turmoil.

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones stressed this today, as he addressed the launch of the inaugural Research Week at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus.

The Minister noted that education was perhaps the way to propel the nation and the region and said: "That is why even though we stumble now as a result of vagaries of economic uncertainties of the world, we cannot retreat from this project – that is, the project of educating a nation and educating a world."

He alluded to the current upheaval in the Middle East and challenged the UWI to research this issue. Mr. Jones queried: "What is happening? Why are people, at this time in the 21st century, in 2011, fighting for what they call democracy, liberation and not being scared of standing up against the bullet? We have to ask ourselves those questions and research them now, so that as we look at our own space, should these things confront us, what do we do? How do we respond? Or, do we work to ensure that those issues don’t confront us?"

Stressing that there had to be lessons learnt from the political upheaval, Mr. Jones further stated: "Let us not say it cannot happen here in Barbados or across the world." And, he pointed out that for people in the Middle East it was not only about fighting for political freedom. "There is hunger also embedded; the need for education; need for the liberation of women within those societies and we, therefore, have to examine the total process and the impact on the mixture we have here in the Caribbean."

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones (right) in conversation with?? [L-R]Coordinator, Graduate Studies and Research, UWI Professor Alan Cobley; Pro-vice Chancellor Research,UWI Professor Wayne Hunte and Pro-vice Chancellor and Principal of the UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles at the launch of the inaugural Research Week at the University of the West Indies (UWI)Cave Hill Campus.??

Dr Alison Ramsay??receiving the??award for??Most Outstanding Thesis (PHD Cultural Studies) from Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones at the Launch of Research Week. Dr. Ramsay’s thesis was titled "Squaring De Rock: A Socio-cultural Examination of fraternal Organisations in Barbados.

Referring to our own economic situation, the Education Minister said research was absolutely important for the university. He also stressed that it was not true to say the economy would work by itself out. "We have to work with the economy, out of the difficulties that we currently have rather than saying that it will just happen… no one owes us a living in the world…And, what can help us to do that is inventiveness, innovation, creativity, science, discipline, all of these things put together… not competition in a negative way across faculties or university space but deep and fundamental collaboration across what we consider the divide," he maintained.

Minister Jones also pointed out that the making of bridges among our people and among university lecturers and researchers was the appropriate response. "Knowledge must be shared and be collective because if it is not shared and collective we all die…We must be better and the only way we can be better is through collective action, taking collective responsibility for what we must do as citizens, as lecturers as professors, as politicians," Mr. Jones contended, while giving Government’s commitment to the University’s research effort.

Meanwhile, Pro-vice Chancellor (Research), Professor Wayne Hunte, in providing the rationale for Research Week said, it allowed the UWI to remain a player in the international pursuit of knowledge and scholarship. He said: "If the best, oldest [and] largest university in the CARICOM region is no longer a player in the international pursuit of knowledge, at the cutting edge in some disciplines, contributing to that process, then in that sense we have failed."

Professor Hunte added that it was, therefore, important that UWI retained its involvement and role not only for its own sake, but because it was research that really brought it international recognition. To this end, he revealed that the UWI had started benchmarking in the international arena and its research had been satisfactorily ranked over the past two years.

It was further explained that research was essentially the knowledge generator behind what was needed to drive national and regional development.?? "If the University of the West Indies is not doing that research; is not creating the knowledge to drive national development; who is going to do it in the region? What other entity in the region can do it?" the professor queried, admitting that it was a critical mandate for UWI.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor told the gathering that research could not be separated from the quality of undergraduate teaching and curricula. "It is by doing the research that we can make our undergraduate curricula relevant to the Caribbean and that we can enhance its quality," he noted, while stating that research was also a potential significant vehicle for competing for funds for the university. According to him, in the last fiscal year, there was a nine per cent increase in income as a result of research projects.????


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