Column: The UWI Bermuda Open House

June 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

[Opinion column written by MP Chris Famous]

For hundreds of years, Bermuda and the Caribbean region have been inextricably linked. The very first indentured servants arrived on our shores in 1616 from the West Indies and the vast majority of enslaved persons of African descent in Bermuda were brought from various Caribbean islands.

These slaves built up our island and contributed to the growth of Bermuda through their skilled labour. Post-1834, there was another mass migration of persons from the Eastern Caribbean islands like St Kitts and Nevis. They Initially came on as skilled labour for the expansion of the Royal Naval Dockyard and then for all forms of specialist labour such as house construction and agriculture work.

In the 1970s, another wave of West Indians came to Bermuda from islands such as Jamaica, Barbados, St Vincent and other leeward islands to fill the ranks of various wings of the civil service. These West Indians left their mark on our island home and helped shape who we are as an island from social and political perspectives.

Over the last 20 years, successive PLP administrations have endeavoured to solidify our ties with our Caribbean kinfolk. This government knows that there is much to be gained from working and interacting with our cousins to the south.

Whether it be via participating in and hosting Carifta games, sending artisans to Carifesta or becoming an associate member of Caricom, Bermuda is able to stay close and stayed involved with the Caribbean.

From an educational aspect, Bermuda enjoys Associate Member status with the University of the West Indies [The UWI]. This status affords Bermudian students the advantage of being seen as home students of The UWI allowing them to take advantage of preferred tuition rates.

Imagine attending a completely online program and paying as little as $10,900USD [average cost] for a Bachelor’s of Science degree or $19,000USD for a PhD. That is not per year; I mean total.

With 5 campuses across the Caribbean [Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua] and online [Open Campus], The UWI is in the top 4% of Universities in the world and the number 1 ranked university in the Southern North American region. It is certainly a smart choice for those looking to continue their education from high school or college or even change careers.

I invite all interested persons to register [askus@gov.bm] to take part in The UWI Open House on Thursday, June 24th at 7:30 pm on CITV and streaming on the Bermuda Government Facebook and YouTube accounts. I encourage all to learn about the 5 campuses, the over 800 programs, and how The UWI can help people achieve their goals. The Min of Education is also providing 4 one-time tuition grants worth $2,500 for those who register and enrol in UWI.

While our journey from the Caribbean to Bermuda began as enslaved Africans, it is not the end of our story. Education truly is the path to freedom and by directing our high school graduates, Bermuda College graduates, and mature students to become students at UWI, we move further along towards completing that journey.

- MP Christopher Famous

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