The Barbados Community College (BCC) has been called on to shape its curriculum to accommodate the retraining and retooling of retrenched workers.
Minister of Education, Technological, and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, made the call while delivering the feature address at the college’s 2018 graduation ceremony, at the Wildey Gymnasium, Saturday evening.
“You will provide a new slate of programmes to buttress the retrenched workers’ need for retooling and retraining. You will participate in the effort to redress the marginalization of males in our post-secondary classrooms,” Bradshaw said.
“Stay focused on your accreditation mission and ensure that by 2020, BCC can partner with any institution anywhere in the world and not be hindered because you are not accredited. You will lead the way in building our Government’s e-commerce and digitization agenda, as we move forward. You must be apart of the change that you want see in this country.”
Bradshaw said it is her belief that the College is strategically positioned to assist the country in its recovery and further development, and to also facilitate the shift in the operational culture that must permeate each organization, whether it be the public or private sector.
“In the past, the college was responsive to the competitive needs of the country as labour force dynamics changed, and crisis impacted us broadly. I want to challenge the Principal and Board of Management this evening, to lead the charge again, as hundreds of workers must access retraining and job retooling into new and expanded areas. Let me say this, we can point to the University of the West Indies for answers, but this is our premier indigenous tertiary level institution, established in 1968, to provide education and training for the average Barbadian who would not have necessarily been afforded an opportunity up the Hill,” Bradshaw said.
“The two institutions now complement each other. Therefore, starting immediately, I want to develop a slate of short customized courses in hospitality, technology, and the arts, that would offer hope and options to retrenched workers.”
Additionally, Bradshaw said the college must also play its role in assisting Government with the digitization of documents, and the utilization of a records management system so that files can be indexed, therefore, eliminating the need for moving numerous paper documents.
“The Barbados Community College, through its Division of Computer Studies, is well poised to play a role in the training of a cadre of young people with the type of skills that will be required as the digitization project is undertaken,” she said.
The Minister also informed that Government has already started discussions with the management of Ross University which will be relocating to Barbados in early January 2019, and will be situated merely a stone’s throw away from BCC, regarding the training of nurses and the improvement of the faculty at BCC.
“You must play a pivotal role in those discussions and mapping out the future of nurses both locally, and for export. BCC has the keys to the recuperation of our labour force. Help us recover,” the Minister said.
In delivering her remarks, BCC’s Acting Principal Dr Cheryl Weekes, noted an enrollment last year of just over 380 students, of which 36 per cent were males.
Dr Weekes said despite the fact that the college continues to be underfunded, resulting in the obvious deterioration of the physical plant, she is confident that the new Board of Management will move expeditiously to address some of the problems as funds become available.
This year, there was a total of 1,074 graduands from across all disciplines and programmes, which Weekes said is an increase of 55 over last year. (AH)