A tertiary medical school is being established in the British Virgin Islands.
Days ago, Cabinet approved for the University of Science Arts and Technology (USAT) to begin operations in the territory.
Minister of Education Myron Walwyn said USAT – which is an offshore private educational facility – will train students and provide degrees in medicine, surgery, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacology, veterinary medicine, and public health. He further said USAT is already accredited.
The minister did not give a timeline when the school will begin operations in the territory. However, he said the school intends to start by enrolling roughly 200 students before expanding the student population.
“The school is very eager to be here … I know they’ve been on the ground looking for properties from which to operate and so forth, and we are going to do the best we can to facilitate them to get them operating as quickly as possible,” Walwyn said.
The Education Minister said USAT does not only mean good news for the local education but also good news for the territory’s economy.
“We all know what can happen to the contribution that will be made to the economy with the rental of spaces for the school and in terms of housing for staff and students and just having persons who are here who will utilise the various services in the local economy … So, as they operate, the territory also benefits and we also have access to education for our people as well.”
He further said the territory will earn additional revenue from the annual $10,000 fee the school has to pay to operate in the BVI.
Higher Education law
Institutions such as USAT are able to operate in the territory based on the territory’s Higher Education Licensing Act, a law implemented in 2016.
The Act has allowed for what is known as a ‘Higher Education Licensing Board’ to be established in the territory. Effectively, the Board will provide licensing to accredited higher education providers to operate in the BVI.
Under the law, the Board should comprise seven members whose collective functions are:
- to consider and make recommendations to the minister with respect to applications for licensing submitted to the Board.
- to maintain a register of the providers of higher education that are licensed under this Act and the programmes of study that are accredited by an approved accrediting body.
- to establish requirements with which a provider must comply in order to be licensed.
- to recommend the revocation of a licence granted to, or conferred on, any provider, in accordance with section 24, if after enquiry the Board considers that there is good and sufficient cause to do so.
- to recommend the number of licences to be issued or exclusive licenses to be granted.
More institutions are said to have applied to operate in the BVI, and according to Walwyn, each of those institutions have had to pay a $5,000 application fee.
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