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#392971 - 11/17/10 03:10 PM University of the West Indies Open Campus
Marty Online   happy

The University of the West Indies Open Campus in Belize is one of forty-five in sixteen countries and it’s the third stop in a series of regional country conferences. With twelve of the smaller campuses taking turns to host the events, this is only the second to be held locally in the past seven years. It started today and the general public is welcomed to attend and join the discussions promoting public education and the scholarly exchange of information. A local planning committee has put together a loaded agenda for the two day conference, which will have three international speakers joining local professionals to present research papers. News Five spoke to the head of the Belize campus and the regional director of open campuses this morning.

Jane Bennett, Head, UWI Open Campus Belize

Jane Bennett

“The purpose is to share information on relevant topics to the community of Belize, to get expert presenters on board and to share technical information and to illicit participation from the Belizean community on topics they are passionate about or they want more information about.”

Delahnie Bain

“What are some of those topics?”

Jane Bennett

“Well, first of all the theme for this conference is “Building our Nation’s Sustainability through Education, Culture and Technology. So the topics of the papers are based on those.”

Luz Longsworth

Luz Longsworth, Regional Director, Open Campus Country Sites

“This actually is a series of countries that we do in all our countries and this is the second round of the country conference series. The series started in the late 1990’s and Belize’s first conference was held in 2003. So what this is, is to study ourselves. For each country to step back, to reflect, to look at the issues of concern that really would lead to the development of each particular country and to really have a forum for public discourse on issues of concern to that country. Clearly as universities and educational institutions, the theme of education for development and the role that education plays for development is always a key theme. Also because the Caribbean is so rich in culture and Belize is particularly rich in culture and I’m pleased that this week we’re doing the conference in a week when we celebrate one of our culture groups, Garifuna Settlement Day later this week. So I think culture and education tend to always be a part of the themes.”

The papers presented can be viewed online at www.open.uwi.edu. Longsworth says they have been to the British Virgin Islands and Montserrat and their next stop is Anguilla in April 2011.


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#392972 - 11/17/10 03:11 PM Re: University of the West Indies Open Campus [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES OPEN CAMPUS BELIZE HOLDS COUNTRY CONFERENCE

Day one of a two day Country Conference hosted by the University of The West Indies Open Campus began this morning. The conference has the participation of local members and other Caribbean countries. Jane Bennett is the Head at UWI Open Campus for Belize.

Jane Bennett – Head, UWI Open Campus Belize

“The University of the West Indies has a mandate to educate, to share information with the public in particular to promote research and so these presenters today have done their research on particular topics that feed into our themes of building our nation sustainability through education, culture and technology. So it is really to bring the Belizean public together and to share information on these topics as they relate to the Belize situation. Well judging on our topics today we were talking about anything from virtually there within our classrooms and you just heard the first presenter talk about creating a repository where teachers can share the information of what’s going on in their classrooms, within the Caribbean region and Belize obviously fits in there. Right now we have a speaker talking to an education system for sustained growth and economic development. There can really be no economic growth if you don’t have an education system. We have international presenters as well local presenters who are focusing on the topics under the theme.”

According to Director for the Open Campus Country Sites for UWI, Luz Longsworth, there are a lot of educational research that are ongoing within and out of Belize and the plans are to bring the research to a public forum so that the public can access it.

Luz Longsworth – Director, Open Campus Country Sites for UWI

“There are a lot of students, researchers who come into Belize and do their thesis, they do their papers and we never really get to get the feedback on this for our own purposes here in Belize. The country conference’s plan is to bring this research home, to bring it to share in a public forum where it is accessible to anyone who wants to hear about the things that people are doing on Belize. Education tends to pull everything together, everything falls under the topic of education but it’s all areas. Culture is one area that we are focusing on during these two days because culture is an important part of development. Technology, how are we using the technologies to enhance our development, to move our development agenda forward? The environment, issues certainly for Belize, key issues regarding the environment; how we look at that. So it is all sectors that are involved so education is just sort of an umbrella in this case.”

Longsworth says that the conference is aimed at presenting substantial research that will have an immediate impact on societies.

Luz Longsworth – Director, Open Campus Country Sites for UWI

“The theme of this conference and the choice of papers tries to come up with some very concrete recommendations for the various sectors to start implementing. What we are hoping to see coming out of this conference is a little agenda that the UWI Open campus can push forward in the next two years until our next country conference in the various thematic areas. What in education is it that we are looking at? If you look at the papers we’re looking a lot on online education, virtual learning, how do we use that? How can we implement that better in Belize? In the case of culture, how do our cultural resources help? Is there an agenda that we can come up with that we can development some working groups with partners to put forward these agendas to help in the development of Belize.’

The University of the West Indies will host another in country conference in two years. The presentations will continue tomorrow. This year’s conference is being held under the theme ‘Building our Nations sustainability through education, culture and technology.”

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