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John from St Vincent and The

Grenadines is making a big step in

pursuing her dream of becoming a

Caribbean leader in technology.

John is among the first batch of 30

students preparing to move to China

for two years as part of a new, four-

year bachelor’s degree programme in

software engineering being offered by

The University of the West Indies


It is a career path that is expected to

become more popular among the

Generation Z, or the iGens, typically

defined as the generation born

between 1995 and 2012.

However, for various reasons, the

software engineering industry is

gaining traction at a much slower pace

in the English-speaking Caribbean than

many other territories.

“The UWI is providing the training to

drive the regional economy into the

digital age in order to enhance

entrepreneurship and industry

competitiveness, with a view to

promoting economic growth,” said Vice-

Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.

Under the programme, The UWI

partners with the Global Institute of

Software Technology in Suzhou, China,

and formed the UWI-China Institute of

Information Technology (UWI-CIIT ).

Students spend the first two years in the

Caribbean at either the Mona or Cave

Hill campus and the second two years at

the Chinese institute. There, they are

fully immersed in the languages and

heritage of China and the Asian

continent’s creative entrepreneurial


Beckles said that producing a class of

globally trained software engineers is

one of the great contributions The UWI

will make at this critical time.

“ The UWI-China Institute of

Information Technology is located in the

heart of the Suzhou, the Silicon Valley of

China. Our students will be at the centre

of the software engineering world and

will also have a post-graduation

internship in the tech park.”


Beckles said that the UWI is taking full

advantage of the China-CARICOM trade

treaty in order to create what he called a

unique opportunity for Caribbean youth

to build out the science and technology

culture in the region.

John’s passion for technology was

ignited in 2013 after she read about a

teen who had sold a simple mobile

application that summarised news

stories to Yahoo for US$30 million.

As a community college student

studying computer science at the time,

John and her younger brother entered a

national competition for mobile-

application development and ideas.

They won the innovative idea

category and soon after, John joined the

first cohort of the UWI-CIIT programme

at Cave Hill in Barbados.

She is now entering her third year and

moving halfway across the world to


“I saw how important it was for

technological advancement in the

Caribbean, and especially my country, in

this digital age,” she said.

John said that she hopes to help

develop the Caribbean region, and as an

advocate for entrepreneurship,

encourage innovation through


30 students head to UWI’s China centre

The Suzhou Technology Park in China where the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology is located.


The reigning British monarch held the traditional office of Visitor to the University from the time George VI accepted the title in January 1949 until the UWI’s 70th year when the decision was taken to bring

this role home to the region.