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The UWI’s “Ten in Two” Austerity Plan

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The UWI’s “Ten in Two” Austerity Plan

Regional Headquarters, Jamaica, Friday, 4 October, 2019. Executive management of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) emerged from a recent two-day retreat with a deeper focus on the University’s financial condition and commitment to regional economic growth.

Examining the first two years of The UWI’s performance within the context of its five-year Triple A strategic plan 2017-2022 themed “Revitalizing Caribbean Development”, management converged on the need for even greater financial efficiency.

Considerable strides were made on strategic outcomes such as research recognition, global impact and leadership, access to teaching and learning, and public accountability. However, the University sees the economic sustainability of the region as its most important challenge, hence greater focus on the institution’s financial health in order to be an effective development partner.

The University, in the last two decades, has been challenged with rising levels of receivables from governments on account of the narrowing fiscal space associated with falling competitiveness and meeting IMF conditionalities. The impairment of these debts and other write-offs in the last decade has meant a considerable loss to the University. To remedy this situation, Prime Ministers at the Caricom Heads of Government Meeting in Haiti last year agreed to assist with an assets-for-cash swap, a welcomed response that motivated the University to accelerate its comprehensive austerity programme.

Evolving from the retreat discussions, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles approved a “Ten in Two Strategy”; calling on all campuses and Regional Headquarters/Vice-Chancellery administration to cut expenditures by 10% over the next two years. All UWI entities have been tasked with consolidating academic programmes, adopting a robust out-sourcing methodology that targets non-core expenditures, and diving deeper into the digital culture in search of cost reductions and savings.

Simultaneously, the Vice-Chancellor requested that operational units increase top line revenue-generation by 10% over the same period, to achieve a UWI-wide savings of approximately US$30 million.

In addition, the executive management retreat agreed to an aggressive programme to achieve five new targets over the next two years of the current strategic plan:

  1. Intensification of cross-campus planning to drive digital transformation;
  2. Implementation of the University as a multi-lingual academy;
  3. Consolidation of The UWI’s reputation as the global leader in climate action and advocacy;
  4. Fast track strategies to develop the entrepreneurial culture across The UWI system and to cultivate “UWI Corporate” as an effective brand;
  5. Establishment The UWI Global Online platform to offer programmes and courses internationally.

With this strategic direction, The UWI will continue to soar as the Caribbean’s premier university. 

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About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Studies Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018 and 2019.The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit www.uwi.edu.