UWI Five Islands seeks to improve male enrollment

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(Observer)

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Islands will be reviewing its degree programmes in an effort to improve the school’s attractiveness to males.

The Director of Academic Affairs at the Antigua-based campus, Dr Curtis Charles, said a lot of young men like to use their hands and he also sees avenues to explore degrees in the field of gaming and animation.

“We are looking at a programme review internally right now, and then also taking that as a real anchor, in terms of what type of degree programmes do we need to have to encourage young men,” he said.

Dr Charles said he refuses to believe that there are young men who are not interested in education and solely interested in work, but he conceded that there must be degree programmes that “call to [their] sense of being”.

Last week, during his address at The UWI Five Islands’ first graduation ceremony, Prime Minister Gaston Browne highlighted the lack of males entering university and said his government will be seeking to remedy the issue.

Dr Charles said addressing the low matriculation of males is an imperative if the country and region wish to remain competitive.

“No territory, region, country, nor state can continue to be sustained and to be competitive with the ratios that we have … we have to get the male students engaged,” he said. “It’s up to the institutions within the region to be introspective about that.”

Meanwhile, Shawn Maile, who is the Labour Relations Officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Employer’s Federation, said males need to be educated about the importance of delayed gratification in their pursuance of careers.

“You can graduate from high school, local college and get a job the next day and start working,” he said. “But if you put your mind to it and you give in to the process that is higher education, three or four years down the line, you can enter the job market at a higher rate and excel at a higher rate than if you were just to take a job straight out of high school and start earning some money,” Maile said.