UWI Officials Seek to Boost Male Enrolment

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 05, 2016 (SKNIS): This Saturday (October 08), St. Kitts and Nevis will host the Presentation of Graduates Ceremony of the UWI Open Campus, but a quick look at statistics reveal that of the 698 students set to accept their Degrees, Certificates and Diplomas, 87 percent are females.

Cicely Jacobs, Programme Officer at the local UWI Open Campus, said that the authorities are trying to address this imbalance by boosting the number of males attending the educational institution.

“We are putting our attention to looking at developing our programmes, how we market, ensuring that there is a balance in terms of gender,” Ms. Jacobs said, while appearing on this week’s edition of the radio and television programme “Working for You.” “That is a goal we have under the programme that’s funding a number of our programme development initiatives.”

Funding of this initiative is provided for by the Government of Canada through the Global Affairs Canada: Sustaining Distance Education in the Caribbean Project. According to the Global Affairs Canada website, the project started in 2013 and aims to “increase employment and other income-generation opportunities by improving access to post-secondary education for men and women …” It is expected to run up to June 2018.

Ms. Jacobs quoted UWI Vice Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles, who said that the English-speaking Caribbean has the lowest percentage of persons achieving tertiary education in the Western Hemisphere.

The disparity between male and female enrolment in St. Kitts and Nevis is also highlighted when looking at figures from the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC). There were 581 females and 365 males attending the island’s premier institution during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Craig Tuckett
Craig Tuckett

UWI alumni, Craig Tuckett, said parents in St. Kitts and Nevis, particularly mothers, must do more to encourage their sons to pursue tertiary education by taking advantage of the many courses currently available from the University of the West Indies (UWI).

“It doesn’t matter how old a man may become, he always has a love and respect for his mother, so if his mother says hey young man go [to university to] study, I think {they] will have that type of influence to encourage the young men that are in our society, especially here in St. Kitts and Nevis, to consider that avenue,” he said.

Mr. Tuckett credited his mother, Dr. Sharon Esdaille, for inspiring him to continue his tertiary education in the Faculty of Law at the UWI Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. He said that the university is looking to expand courses to include a variety of technical subjects over the next few years and that should help boost male enrolment.

Locals desirous of learning more about the UWI programmes can visit or contact the UWI Open Campus at The Gardens in Basseterre. The Presentation of Graduates Ceremony of the UWI Open Campus will be held on Saturday, October 08, at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay. The event starts at 10 a.m.

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