25 UWI Scholarships available for Antiguans and Barbudans
By Christal Clashing
On June 30th, 2021 registration to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Islands campus will close for the first semester of the 2021/2022 academic year. Upon successful admission into one of the two programmes offered under the newly formed School of Science, Computing and Artificial Intelligence (SoSCAI), applicants who have citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda may be eligible for one of the 25 scholarships available through the Board of Education. The undergraduate programmes currently offered are a BSc in Computer Science and a BSc in Information Technology.
SoSCAI will open its doors on August 30th alongside the other three schools at the UWI Five Islands campus, the School of Humanities and Education, the School of Health and Behavioural Science and the School of Business and Management. However, SoSCAI will function differently from other schools and faculties across the UWI regional campuses. Under this school, there will be a focus on interdisciplinary education that prepares graduates for professional roles in Science, Computing and Artificial Intelligence.
This is in contrast to the Department of Computing and Information Technology under the Faculty of Science & Technology at the UWI St. Augustine campus in Trinidad. Professor of Data Science at St. Augustine, Dr Patrick Hosein, has observed that students who come from specialised programs in Computer Science or Data Science become experts in their particular field but require a lot of ‘catch-up’ to meet the multidisciplinary nature of real-world problems. Antigua’s UWI campus seeks to solve this problem by infusing interdisciplinary knowledge and applications into their SoSCAI degree offering.
Starting with two programmes in Computer Science and Information Technology, SoSCAI in Antigua plans to increase its programme offerings over the next four years. Further undergraduate programmes envisioned are BSc degrees in Software & Application Development and eSports & Gaming. Such courses of study will be targeted to those leaving secondary school, community college programmes, and those with sufficient technical proficiency whose work experience may count for credit. Postgraduate programmes in Data Science & Business Intelligence and Supply Chain Management will also be added for those who already have foundational undergraduate degrees.
Certificate programmes will be offered in due course for persons who may not be able to commit to a full degree programme but who still want to expand on and supplement their existing skills and knowledge. This may be a good option for teachers in primary and secondary schools who teach the STEAM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. One of the goals of SoSCAI is to prepare upcoming generations for the transformation of the job market. Increasingly, current jobs will be taken over by machines over the next 20 years; roles that haven’t been invented yet will require creative thinking in concert with technological skills. Teachers across the range of primary and secondary education are key to preparing young people with such capacities.
The challenges of the region will be increasingly dire as issues such as: climate variability, natural disasters, feeding a growing population and ocean governance threaten the Eastern Caribbean way of life. SoSCAI at the UWI Five Islands campus aims to be the forerunner in responsive and agile education in response to the aforementioned challenges. Through multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary education and research, solutions based on data from our very own region will be used to target and develop new technology to address the grand challenges of the region.
Students who secure admittance into SoSCAI and want to apply for a scholarship under the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of Education must be prepared to complete an application form that outlines their rationale for pursuing their chosen course of study. They will also have to explain the impact their studies will have on Antigua and Barbuda, along with a minimum of two letters of recommendation. It is expected that scholarship recipients will sign a bond that ties them to three years of service to Antigua and Barbuda, post-graduation.