The transition process from college to university status is progressing at the College of The Bahamas (COB), according to its chairman, Alfred Sears.
Mr. Sears said even though not much is being said of the process to the public, a lot of work is going on behind the scenes.
“The process under the leadership of Dr. Olivia Saunders has been proceeding in a very satisfactory manner,” he said.
“Teams from the secretariat including faculty members and administrators have been to several islands including Inagua, Long Island, Cat Island, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera and a team is currently in Jamaica. What they’re doing is having consultations in the communities about their expectations from COB and the need of their specific communities.”
Mr. Sears said the process is going to be extensive but the council wants to ensure that all the preparatory work is conducted efficiently.
“In Jamaica, they are meeting with officials from the University of the West Indies and having collaboration with them,” he said.
“The [education] minister has also been very actively engaged with the Cabinet. I was also informed by the minister Thursday that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has committed in its country funding programme to be engaged in terms of funding the rollout of the University of The Bahamas.”
He added that the Secretariat has also been in close consultation with some of the college’s stakeholders.
“We have met with a lot of them including the Freedom Foundation and Lowell Mortimer, Franklyn Wilson and the Royal Bank of Canada,” Mr. Sears said.
“We also had a meeting with the COB’s president and members of the Lyford Cay Foundation to discuss the issues surrounding the transition to the University of The Bahamas and seeking their support so the consultation with our communities and the chambers of commerce’s in these islands, government representatives has been going extremely well.”
COB said the Secretariat will ensure that the voices of administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni and external stakeholders receive full consideration in the “conceptualisation of the character” of the University of The Bahamas.
The Secretariat has to incorporate a number of elements when drafting a roadmap for the transition.
The new university must have the profiles of matriculating students; the ideals of the university’s programmes for developing matriculates spiritually, socially, and intellectually into graduates; locations and physical characteristics of campuses to support these programmes and an endowment trust for the university.
The Secretariat also has to ensure there are minimum student tuition and fees in place; foreign exchange programmes; development needs of The Bahamas; human talent and skills, and physical resources needs.
It has to incorporate the mandates of the minister of education, take into consideration the strategic plan of 2009-2019 and the work of previous consultative committees and task forces, including but not limited to the final report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Governance of June 2007, Task Force on Academic Quality Assurance Committee of September 2007, and the Task for on Higher Education August 2005.