President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Howard Mitchell has expressed his disappointment with The University of the West Indies (UWI), charging that the institution has failed to build and elevate the business class through research and development.
"I am disappointed that The UWI is not providing the data-control techniques, the data-management techniques, and the data-manipulation and analysis techniques that our business people so sadly lack, and our private sector is held back because we do not have, to a great extent, that talent internally," said Mitchell in his keynote address to the Rotary Club of New Kingston breakfast meeting at the Altamont Court Hotel, St Andrew, yesterday.
Mitchell, a UWI alumnus, said that the PSOJ had engaged the institution on the topic but indicated that the response was not favourable.
"There is a frustration within the university about the focus on output rather than quality of output," he said. "So I am taking on The UWI and saying that it is not sufficient for you to be producing 300 lawyers. What we going to do with 300 lawyers a year?"
Mitchell added: "Yes, we could use doctors - we need more - but it's not sufficient to just produce those qualified people. We must build the support structure for growth with our private sector, and, by the way, must go and get it and not just be margin gatherers as we have been in our history."
Mitchell, who was speaking on the topic 'Cultivating a Culture of Mindfulness is the Foundation of Sustainable Growth', also took aim at the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry.
"I welcome the BPO, but I put it to you that at the level they are at now, they are a repressive, economic source, and unless we exalt and improve the quality of the work that our people are doing for them, along with the quality of the pay, we are doing a disservice to our nation," said Mitchell.