News Releases

UWI goes global, establishing new institute with China

For Release Upon Receipt - February 29, 2016


The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is pleased to announce that its collaboration with the Global Institute of Software Technology (GIST) in Suzhou, China will produce a UWI-China Institute of Science and Technology later this year. While the establishment of relationship between The UWI and GIST, and feasibility studies of the initiative began early in 2015, the Memorandum of Agreement confirming the Institute was signed at The UWI, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados on February 19, 2016. The Institute is expected to open with its first cohort of students reading towards a bachelor’s degree in Science and Technology at The UWI, Cave Hill in September 2016.

Speaking the next day at the post-MOA signing press conference, hosted at The UWI Regional Headquarters in Jamaica on February 20, 2016, UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles noted, "This great project is the first major step of UWI moving into the global space. We have had relationships with hundreds of universities all over the world over several decades, but this is the first occasion that The UWI is partnering with another university to establish a new university.”

This UWI-China Institute of Information Technology is a clear alignment with Vice-Chancellor Beckles’ leadership vision, who is keen on driving the globalisation of The UWI brand through expansion and alertness to global opportunities. According to Vice-Chancellor Beckles, “Establishing strong linkages with partner institutions, especially those with similar strategic thrusts as ours, augurs well for enabling the level of economic turnaround and wealth generation that the Caribbean so desperately needs”. He added, "One of the largest nations of the world has now partnered with one of the smallest nations. This is truly significant!"

Executive Chairman of GIST, Dr Wang Bin Tai, said he hopes the Institute would serve to mutually increase knowledge about and appreciation for the history and culture of the people of the Caribbean and China, noting that the Institute will “…develop a platform for change between the young people in China and the Caribbean."  He also stated “Caribbean students who complete their degrees in China, will enjoy all the privileges that Chinese students do, including bursaries, scholarships and internships."

Students of the Institute will be taught using state-of-the-art software engineering, training and research and development. There is also provision for a mandatory student internship in China as well as faculty exchanges and collaboration as part of the programmes.

Principal of The UWI Cave Hill campus in Barbados, Professor Eudine Barriteau, who also witnessed the MOA signing noted that education in science and technology is critical to the advancement of the Caribbean. She stated, “…A programme of this nature will open up learning vistas and expand horizons for our students. We know young Caribbean people see information technology as a way of life. In a sense we are together paving the way to the future for them.”


About the Global Institute of Software Technology, Suzhou

The Global Institute of Software Technology, Suzhou (GIST), bestowed its legal status by Jiangsu Provincial Government, is an innovative institution of higher learning jointly established by Microsoft (China) Co. Ltd., Suzhou Science and Technology Town and Global EduTech Management (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. The institute has been granted the qualification of Jiangsu International Service Outsourcing Talents Training Base and Suzhou New District (SND) Training Base for Talents with Extraordinary Skills. With "Striving for first class, being characteristic and creating GIST brand" as its school-running concept, the institute, adhering to the principle of "Technology leading-edge, Application prominent",putting into practice the trinity cultivation mode of "Classroom teaching – Project training – Paid practicum" and giving prominence to software technology and foreign language application abilities, aims to cultivate high-quality, internationally-oriented professionals with practical skills as well as innovative spirit in urgent need for software and service outsourcing industries.

About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a fully-fledged, regional University with over 50,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with three physical campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and an Open Campus. The UWI serves 17 English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, The British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos. The UWI’s faculty and students come from more than 40 countries and The University has collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation.

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)