The transformation of the country’s primary tertiary institution into a university has been a promise of successive governments, but it’s one Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald insists his government is willing and committed to fulfil.
Just days into his new role as minister, Mr. Fitzgerald met with officials at the College of the Bahamas (COB) and the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI).
During his first official visit to COB as minister yesterday, he assured senior college officials that his government is dedicated to ensuring COB attains university status.
“We have a belief, a fundamental belief that no great city is developed without a premier tertiary learning institution and we intend to ensure that we do all we can to make sure that the college becomes the university of The Bahamas,” Minister Fitzgerald said.
Minister Fitzgerald says the transformation to university status is an integral part of his government’s policy for national development.
As former deputy chair of the College Council, he noted that when the PLP left office in 2007, the college was well on its way to becoming a university.
However, he expressed disappointment that the former FNM Government did not follow through even though the draft legislation was left in place.
“We had the political will in 2002 to 2007, time did not permit us to have it completed but we had on track the timeline for it to be done in 2009. We of course will have to reassess where we are now and to see what else needs to be done in order for us to make sure we move to that,” he said.
Acting COB President Dr. Earla Carey Baines assured the education minister that COB stands committed and ready to serve and work towards the attainment of university status.
“We look forward to making that dream a reality for us and for our nation,” Dr. Baines said.
“Please rest assured that you have the commitment of everyone around the table, of all of the senior team members gathered here, of course our faculty and staff and our students to ensure that this institution continues to grow and to serve our nation in the way that it should.”
The minister also revealed that the new college board is expected to be named by today, in order to be in place in time for graduation.
“The College of The Bahamas has always had a very experienced board and we’re going to enhance that as much as we can moving forward. But I think you’ll be very happy with the decision that we’ve actually made and it will show you quite clearly in unequivocal terms our commitment to the college and the college moving to university status,” he said.