News Releases

Language in the Caribbean formal education system

For Release Upon Receipt - April 16, 2009

St. Augustine

Despite the ability to creatively use language in everyday life, Caribbean people continue to struggle with language in the formal education system. Professor Ian Robertson will explore this issue in his professorial inaugural lecture entitled “The Challenge of Language for Education in the Caribbean”, on Thursday 23rd April, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. in Engineering Room 101, UWI, St Augustine Campus.

Professor Robertson’s research centers on language and its effects on regional education systems. Education has been identified by all the territories of the Commonwealth Caribbean as holding the key to optimising human potential and harnessing it for personal as well as national benefit. The education system has correctly identified language as the cornerstone of effecting satisfactory education processes. However, the system has consistently failed to produce in its students the certifiable level of control of the language of education, English. Consequently language has come to serve as a barrier to maximizing individual and collective human potential. Professor Robertson’s presentation addresses the need for a more studied and informed approach to the issue of language and education based on significantly increased levels of language awareness.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (868) 662-2002 Ext. 2013 or 2014.End

ABOUT PROFESSOR IAN ROBERTSONProfessor Ian Robertson is a Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Liberal Arts at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus. He completed his undergraduate degree in English at The University of West Indies’ Mona Campus, and later obtained his PhD from the St Augustine Campus. Known for academic concerns that are based on clear grounded approaches rather than abstract theorising, Professor Robertson often stresses the significance of field work in Linguistics and Education, advancing students’ research techniques by bringing the field into classroom teaching and learning. ABOUT UWIOver the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.