UWI China Institute of Information Technology(UWI-CIIT)
The Caribbean and China create a new ‘silk road’ to knowledge
Dr. Anthony O. Fisher
UWI China Institute of Information Technology (UWI-CIIT)
Office of the Vice Chancellor
University of the West Indies, Barbados
The University of the West Indies(UWI), winner of two Nobel prizes and the number one university in CARICOM – the 15 nation community of independent English speaking nations in the Caribbean with which China has very close friendships - entered into a partnership with the Global Institute of Software Technology(GIST) from Suzhou to create The UWI – China Institute of Information Technology (UWICIIT) the first institution of its kind in the Americas.
Most of the countries in CARICOM, with the exception of Trinidad and Tobago, which exports oil and gas, Jamaica bauxite, and Guyana gold and other precious metals, depend precariously on tourism and commodities as a major source of their income. World Bank and other studies have pointed to the acquisition of IT skills as one way for the CARICOM nations to diversify their income base to be able to export software, and create more sustainable economies.
Bridging the gap in skills to put in place the platform for the creation of a digital economy, is an opportunity for both China and the Caribbean to collaborate to mutual benefit. While many Chinese have seen the film ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ they know little about the culture of the region, nor of the strategic knowledge partnership opportunities in the English speaking Caribbean that could enhance China’s own development priorities. Contributing to PM LI Keqiang’s internet + project, is but one example where the CARICOM countries working with China could benefit each other both culturally and materially.
Hence the UWI-CIIT was created.
The binational UWI-CIIT is designed to train students from both China and the Caribbean in software development, entrepreneurship, language and cultural skills. It is a 2+2 program which will give Caribbean students a grounding in Chinese culture and language, as well as provide English and knowledge of Caribbean culture for Chinese students.
A paid 6 month internship arranged during their practically oriented 4th year through GIST, at Fortune 500 companies in the Suzhou Industrial Park is a highlight of the program. Graduates get both a UWI degree in software engineering and a GIST diploma. Caribbean students will be encouraged to start their own businesses or work in China’s software industry, before returning home. Chinese students who enroll will be fluent in English, become highly employable in China and more globally competitive.
Dr. Wang Bin Tai, Executive Chairman of GIST, stated that he hopes the Institute will serve as a platform for exchange for students from both nations.
The agreement to set up the UWICIIT is just the first pillar in what Sir Hilary Beckles, the Vice Chancellor of the UWI characterizes as, jointly creating ‘a bridge for an education silk road which links young people of China to the Caribbean and the Americas.
More information about the program can be found at http://www.uwi.edu/softwareengineering/
Scan QR Code via WeChat
to follow Official Account