newsdog Facebook

UWI campuses urged to cut expenditure by 10% in 2 years

Jamaica Observer 2019-10-08 22:01:04

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Vice-Chancellor at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is urging all campuses and regional headquarters of the tertiary institution to cut expenditures by 10 per cent over the next two years.

Beckles' call follows a recent two-day retreat, which focused on UWI's financial condition and commitment to regional economic growth with a specific examination of the first two years of the university's performance under its five-year Triple A strategic plan, which started in 2017 themed “Revitalising Caribbean Development”.

According to a UWI release, the vice-chancellor approved a “Ten in Two Strategy” at the retreat and tasked all entities of the UWI 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.

Beckles also requested that operational units increase top line revenue-generation by 10 per cent over the same period, to achieve what was described as “a UWI-wide savings” of approximately US$30 million.

The university said that despite the strides made on strategic outcomes such as research recognition, global impact and leadership, access to teaching and learning, and public accountability, it sees the economic sustainability of the region as its most important challenge.

According to UWI, in the last two decades, the school has been challenged with rising levels of receivables from governments on account of the narrowing fiscal space associated with falling competitiveness and meeting IMF conditionality.

UWI said the impairment of these debts and other write-offs in the last decade has meant a considerable loss to the university.

But it said prime ministers at the Caricom Heads of Government Meeting in Haiti last year agreed to assist with an assets-for-cash swap to remedy the situation, which further motivated the university to accelerate its comprehensive austerity programme.

The university also noted that the executive management retreat agreed to an aggressive programme to achieve the following 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 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 of the UWI Global Online platform to offer programmes and courses internationally

According to UWI, this strategic direction will help the university to continue to soar as the Caribbean's premier university.