Head of the University of the West Indies – Cave Hill Campus, Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles has described the operations of CAAM-HP unaccredited medical offshore universities in the Caribbean, as a disgrace and embarrassment to the higher education standards of the Caribbean.
Flanked by the Principal of the Cave Hill Campus Professor Eudine Barriteau at a press conference in Barbados, the respected regional educator and scholar insist that the Caribbean must immediately enforce stringent checks and balances before allowing these offshore institutions to establish themselves here.
He also reiterated that the credibility of the qualifications presented by their foreign teaching staff and operators must be scrutinized, and be above board.
His statements were made in response to a major academic scam involving the Alexander American University in Guyana and the Washington American University in Barbados, both of which was operated by accused fraudster Rao Venkata Gopi, an Indian national who had established the universities.
According to Sir Hillary who is also the president of the Association of Caribbean Universities (ACU) “The circumstance that has developed here is clearly an embarrassment to the university sector..”.
He is of the view that the Caribbean must move in to arrest the problem now, and to ensure that there will never be a repeat of the current scam, which he thinks is also a factor at several other unaccredited medical offshore universities in the region.
The UWI Vice Chancellor expressed his belief that most of the offshore universities that are operating in the region do not have the people’s academic interest at heart Instead, they are hounding unsuspecting students for financial gain.
Since the unravelling of the Washington University of Barbados scandal over the past two weeks, Barbados and two other Caribbean countries have made a decision to close down a number of these offshore universities, while others may have to cease new student recruitment, until they can satisfy new legislation that is forthcoming.