UCCI tackling post-Ivan challenges

Recruitment a top concern

Hurricane Ivan left the University College of the Cayman Islands facing a projected cost of $800,000 for repairs and replacements, according to a report.

And that was not the only headache the college – which only changed its name from the Community College a short time before the storm struck – faced.

In addition to the wind and water damage to buildings, the hurricane had an impact on enrolment, says the college’s 2004/05 annual report, recently tabled in the Legislative Assembly.

Pre-Ivan the statistics were ‘very encouraging’ with 592 students enrolled in the programmes.

But the number dropped to 454 by the end of the fall semester, the report says.

‘The college continues to grapple with the reduction in income because of the decline in enrolment and increasing costs in the post-Ivan period.’

‘Fortunately, we received a grant of $200,000 from the government in the immediate post-Ivan period and consequently, we remained in good financial standing at the end of the year,’ the report adds.

Timetables had to be restructured to ensure students could complete their programmes on schedule and the school day was adjusted to start at 8am and finish at 9.30pm.

‘Academically it became very demanding – longer classes with a shorter period to complete the course requirements.

‘This was amplified by the fact that many students had accommodation, utilities, transportation and other problems,’ says the report.

Staffing had also been affected, says the report.

‘Pre-Ivan we had no difficulty recruiting faculty with the required qualifications and experience.

‘This exercise was very demanding for the 2005/06 academic year and was somewhat alleviated by the Board’s decision to offer one month’s salary as an incentive to new recruits.

‘This award only to new recruits was problematic because serving faculty and staff felt equally deserving,’ says the report.

And the report goes on to sound a further note of concern for the future.

‘The recruitment of faculty and staff in future years will become more challenging not only because of the global shortage of teachers but also because of the relatively low salaries and the high cost of living in the Cayman Islands.’

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