I extend congratulations to all students who made the Dean's list and the FMS honour Society this year. You have achieved this through hard work and dedication to the task. Some of you reached this milestone despite severe challenges including inadequate financial resources. This is the second year that these awards are being made and I assure you that years from now these awards will be firmly entrenched in the traditions of our Faculty. To those of you who did not make the list this year, I encourage you to work harder so that you can be included next year. Only the two top students in each year can make the Honour Society but every student can make the Dean's list which is based on GPA.
Last year there was a 20 percent total increase in student enrolment in the Faculty, mainly due to a 16 percent increase in the number of undergraduate students. There are challenges associated with managing large numbers of students but there are also benefits. We now have a truly international student body. This diversity was reduced when the Faculty of Medical Sciences was established in Trinidad twenty years ago. For instance between 1966 and 2004 the 100 medical students admitted annually, were mainly Jamaicans. Today we have students from every island in the English-speaking Caribbean as well as students from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. This can only redound to the benefit of our students as it serves to enhance their learning experience. Increased enrolment has also enhanced the quality of our programmes as we are now able to improve our facilities and use technology to enhance the delivery of our curricula.
As a response to the financial challenges facing our students, the FMS offers assistance in the form of bursaries, details of which are on our website. These opportunities will be very important in the years to come as weak economies force governments to shift funds from tertiary institutions.
Excellence among our students is only sustainable if the Faculty is able to provide a nurturing environment. This requires not only excellent facilities but also hard working and dedicated staff who are committed to the goals enunciated in the FMS and UWI strategic plans. These are the qualities displayed by the staff of the FMS and we thank them for that.
Congratulations to all of you, students and teachers, who made all this possible.