In a significant move towards fostering international academic collaboration, Professors Dale Webber and Ian Boxill, accompanied by Campus Registrar Dr Donovan Stanberry, marked their final official act as Principal and Deputy Principal of The University of the West Indies (UWI) by signing a momentous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat.
This agreement paves the way for 25 bright minds from Ghana to pursue higher education at the UWI Mona campus.
Representing the Ghanaian Government, the Deputy Registrar for the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat, Afua Gaisie, officially affixed her signature to the MOU.
The signing ceremony, held on July 31, followed a constructive dialogue between Gaisie and the UWI’s senior administration team, extending a warm Mona Campus welcome.
The origins of this historic partnership trace back to a sequence of events initiated by Stanberry’s visit to Ghana from May 22nd to June 16th earlier this year. During this mission, Stanberry engaged in fruitful discussions with various stakeholders, notably meeting with GSS Registrar, Dr Kingsley Agyemang, on May 25th. These conversations culminated in a promising agreement wherein the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat would finance the educational journey of Ghanaian students at UWI Mona.
The Ghana Scholarship Secretariat is keen on dispatching scholars in the fields of Medicine, Computer Science, Agriculture, and Sports to undertake studies at the Mona Campus. The two sides promptly collaborated to expedite the admission of Ghanaian students, targeting a commencement date in September 2023.
According to the terms of the five-year accord, the GSS will sponsor the education of 25 students, out of which 15 will receive scholarships for Medical degrees, while the remaining 10 will pursue diverse programmes within the other identified areas of interest. The agreement also opens the possibility of augmenting scholarship offerings in the future.
During a heartfelt address to both delegations, Stanberry attributed the inception of this visionary initiative to Professor Boxill and lauded the prompt action taken by the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat in materializing the aspirations of the first cohort of Ghanaian scholars set to embark on their educational journey in September 2023.
Expressing gratitude, Afua Gaisie extended her appreciation to the senior administration team and shared her anticipation for an upcoming tour of the campus, underscoring a particular interest in exploring the Faculty of Medical Sciences.
She further highlighted the historical ties between Ghana and Jamaica as foundational to the Pan-African diaspora. Drawing from her office’s historical background within the office of the President of Ghana, Gaisie pointed out previous successful partnerships that facilitated educational opportunities in Cuba.
She expressed optimism for the prospect of future successes through collaborations with UWI, especially in the realm of sports programs, inspired by Jamaica’s distinguished contributions on the local, regional, and international stages.
In a reflective sentiment, outgoing Principal Professor Dale Webber underscored the significance of establishing a Scholarship Secretariat within the presidential office, symbolizing Ghana’s resolute commitment to education as a nation-building tool. Professor Webber further emphasised the intrinsic value of being a research-oriented institution, highlighting its practical applications for real-world problem-solving.
He shared an illustrative anecdote from his conversation with Gaisie, discussing the shared challenge of Sargassum infestations and its potential connection to Ghana’s coastline.
Professor Webber posited, “By tracing the origins, we stand a better chance of addressing the issue at its source.” This illustration served as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness between nations.
The trajectory of this educational collaboration holds profound implications for the mutual advancement of both Ghana and Jamaica, with the 25 scholarships extending their nation-building endeavors over the next five years and potentially beyond. As the UWI eagerly awaits the arrival of new Pelicans from Ghana this September, the stage is set for a dynamic exchange of knowledge, culture, and progress.