Fourteen years after the vision was articulated by Prime Minister Perry Christie, The Ministry of Education yesterday announced the charter date for the official transitioning of The College of The Bahamas to a university is November 10, 2016.
Education Minister Fitzgerald in bringing remarks at the ceremony held at the COB Harry C. Moore Library, said this is not just a simply a name change.
“Today, it is my distinct pleasure to announce, on behalf of the Government, that November 10th will be our Charter Day and the day that we will officially become The University of The Bahamas. I want you to know that the road to university does not just mean passing a bill or changing a name – it is a paradigm shift in the culture and fabric of our country as it relates to tertiary education and national development as a whole,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.
“It is a shift in how we experience higher education in The Bahamas, as we will be amongst many other nations who boast of having a national university. We are here today to witness the building of a more modern nation,” he said.
The minister reiterated that the narrative of the university is founded on four strong pillars; namely, “first class knowledge in the realm of academics; building strong communities through university level infrastructure; creating a modern space for learning by committing to service excellence; and growing our legacy through transparent financial management”.
The minister thanked all who contributed to the success of the upcoming university, and he said the amount of support garnered in the process calls for a celebration.
“This collaboration is indicative of the fact that November 10th is a national day – a day of celebration for the entire country. We want the public to be excited and join in on the celebration. The Charter Day Ceremony on November 10th is specifically open to the public and we encourage the public on that day and the days surrounding Charter Day to wear your University royal Blue – or as we say here, your UB Blue,” he said.
“As I stand here today, I am immensely proud to remind you that on November 10th we will be the University of The Bahamas not just in name, but in experience and in performance,” Mr. Fitzgerald continued.
Meantime the minister noted that the College of The Bahamas already has “sufficient attributes of a university, which will be leveraged for further success”.
He said this is evidenced in a few factors including the fact that the majority (70 percent) of students at the college are graduating with bachelor degrees.
“A high quality of programmes and excellence that has been achieved in teaching – COB offers more than 60 programmes across a broad range of disciplines; The progress that is being made in building graduate programmes; and The increasing productivity that The College has demonstrated in research and publication output,” he added.
Last month Union of Tertiary Educators in The Bahamas (UTEB) President Jennifer Isaacs Dotson, told The Bahama Journal last month that the college is ready for the transition in some ways and in other ways it is not.
“UTEB and the faculty and staff realize that the quality of service that we provide and our programmes and the work that the faculty does, we feel that we are already at university standards,” she said.
“However we are concerned with the infrastructure of The College of The Bahamas, which leaves a lot to be desired in order for faculty to do the work in which they need to do; and in order for students to be in a safe and healthy environment. That is also for the faculty and staff. That is one of our main concerns as we transition to a university. We need to ensure that the buildings in our surroundings throughout the campus here in Oaks Field and even the northern Bahamas are up to the standard of university,” she said.