May 2018

Issue Home >>


Funding regional higher education

Regional higher education institutions, whose primary focus once was serving the public good, are now being forced to think like businesses to sustain themselves because of the economic climate. It’s a fight for survival that requires a culture of change.

In 2010, the West Indies Group of University Teachers (WIGUT) organised a professional development seminar to discuss Sustainable Funding of Higher Education in Challenging Times in recognition of its role in helping to ensure the sustainability of higher education in the West Indies.

Eight years later, the conversation around financing the regional higher education sector is the same. WIGUT recently held a follow-up round table to address sustainable funding and capacity building for the sector, with the intention of examining the proposals and perspectives then reconvening to move forward with practical solutions.

Executive member of WIGUT and lead for the event management, Dr. David Rampersad, says there is a misconception that funding the higher education sector refers to student funding only. It includes looking at aspects of funding such as traditional fundraising and philanthropy, commercialisation, technology and knowledge transfer, creation and exploitation of intellectual property, exporting education services, and particularly, exporting results of research.

The roundtable sought to discuss issues around funding and to identify steps and expertise required to build capacity.

A mix of experts, primarily from within The UWI, presented on themes such as The Economic Outlook: Opportunities for The Tertiary Sector; Enabling Framework/ Pre-conditions; Philanthropy/Alumni Giving; Marketing of Technical Expertise and Consulting Capacity; Harnessing Research Capacity and Research Management; Intellectual Property and Commercialisation: A Realistic Assessment; Public-Private-Academic Partnerships; International Marketing of Higher Education Services and Options for the Payment of Tuition Fees. Dr. Rampersad presented on International Marketing of Higher Education Services.

(Shyvonne Williams)