West Indians take early lead

January 27, 2006

A new national university for the Caribbean archipelago of Trinidad and Tobago has awarded 500 degrees and diplomas before construction of a main campus building has even been completed.

This apparent anomaly is partly explained by the fact that the new University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) has assimilated the teaching staff, building and student population of the defunct Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Technology.

Three campus centres, including the headquarters, are still under construction and plans to build two more are being finalised. This ambitious exercise is part of a government drive to increase tertiary education enrolment from present levels of less than 9 per cent to 60 per cent by 2020.

Tertiary Education Minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid said that the presence of a main campus of the regional University of the West Indies was simply not enough "to satisfy the tertiary (education) needs of the country".

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