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St George’s University in Grenada, one of the world’s largest universities for medical students, is reportedly for sale. Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training Fazal Karim in a telephone interview yesterday said he heard the university was being sold but could not say who was the purchaser. “I have not been officially informed, but I heard it was proposed to be sold.”
A March 21 report in Caribbean 360, stated that the university could fetch more than US$1 billion if sold, according to Reuters. The university personnel was speaking to private equity firms about a deal, the article revealed. Karim said the Government was unaware of plans to sell the university, but felt vindicated since he was concerned about the outflow of foreign exchange and students having to leave T&T while being financed by the Government to pursue courses outside of the country.
Karim said the news came at a time when Cabinet had agreed to the expansion of training for doctors, nurses and healthcare providers at a number of institutions, to improve human development. In the last few month, Karim said, training has been under way at:
• El Dorado Nurses Academy;
• The San Fernando teaching hospital;
• The Children’s Hospital at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.
“While we are building the capacity at home, look what has been announced,” Karim said. Asked if this will have an effect on local students, Karim said, “No. Our medical students can now do their programmes at home.” He explained that some students were going to St George’s not fully qualified.
Another issue was students who completed part of their undergraduate degrees and wanted to pursue clinicals in United States were unable to do so because of visa requirements. Teresa Davidson, director of GATE’s funding and grants administration division said she, too, read about the sale of the university recently.
Davidson was unable to say how many T&T students were currently attending the university. “GATE pays for all the students in St George’s who are covered.” Davidson said a small group of students pay on their own. She said the university will “be sold as a med school” since a lot of money was invested in first class medical equipment. “It is a going concern.” St George’s annual intake of medical students was approximately 1,000, Davidson said.