Dr Rajendra S Rampaul
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UTT celebrates 10 years
An anniversary is definitely a time to celebrate one’s achievements; certainly not one for mindless self-congratulations. Anniversaries do not represent the end of a process but rather a bridge that links past successes with the desire and ambition for future ones. So, celebrations must be complemented with profound and honest introspection. UTT is celebrating its tenth anniversary and it is therefore, both appropriate and opportune to pose and seek answers to the following question: whither UTT?
The T&T Institute of Technology (TTIT), which was geared towards producing technicians, technologists and operators/supervisors, was upgraded to produce sector-specific, industry-ready engineers and to engage in multi-disciplinary research with the stated aim to spawn companies.
The present paucity of active research groupings, the piddling funds available for research and the inappropriate research structure and administration do not lend itself to that articulated position; as evidenced by the research output. So is UTT reverting to a TTIT-type institution?
UTT was initially set up as an engineering-based institution to support the diversification thrust. But by the end of the first five years of its existence, it began to lose its way. The first significant challenge was in metamorphosing the culture of a teaching institution, as TTIT was, populated heavily with part-time students, and the mindset of staff, almost all of whom did not have PhDs and who were routinely assigned heavy teaching loads, to an active research-based university one.
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