The University of the West Indies (UWI) is taking steps toward being a ‘multi-lingual’ institution with the implementation of the a Foreign Language Policy for its five regional campuses.
Under the new policy all students are required to participate in foreign language training at a general level and at least be “conversation competent in a language other than English” according to the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Undergraduate Studies, Professor Justin Robinson.
A release from The UWI says the policy was implemented following an in-depth internal strategic planning and discussion with regional education stakeholders. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles noted:
“The significant change will enable the further regional and global mobility and empowerment of graduates. Foreign language proficiency will no longer be a major impediment to employment amongst our graduates in the global world.”
He elaborated further, “This is a fundamental change that will transform the identity of UWI students and graduates and will provide more relevant graduates to serve as a development platform for the new, more modern, and globally competitive Caribbean economy.”
The UWI Foreign Language Policy is being implemented on a phased, Faculty-by-Faculty and campus-by-campus basis, beginning in the academic year 2022/2023 with applicability to new incoming undergraduate students only.
The UWI currently has teaching and learning departments on its campuses that produce substantial numbers of graduates with specialised foreign language degrees. Majors and minors in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin) and teaching competencies in others like Arabic, German, Hindi, Korean, and Yoruba have long been commonplace. Those coming into the university with prior competence shall be exempt from this requirement.