As a student at the University College of the Cayman Islands I feel compelled to respond to some of the comments and issues West Bay’s MLA Mr. Rolston Anglin had to say about UCCI and local vs. international education published in the Compass on Friday, 26 May.
Mr. Anglin’s major concern was that the government should go back to the policy of providing scholarships for students wanting to study abroad in areas that are now offered locally.
Stopping the granting of such scholarships was done for two very important reasons: to build up UCCI and for financial reasons.
While financial considerations are not the major reason for writing this response, I want to take the time to illustrate the potential savings for the Government.
Government scholarships cover CI$16,000 worth of fees, books and room and board costs per year. To complete a Bachelors Degree internationally, it then costs the government CI$64,000.
This generally does not even cover all of the expenses students incur while studying abroad.
However, it costs about $CI$18,000 to complete a full four-year Bachelors Degree at UCCI. That works out to be a savings of CI$46,000 per student should these students study locally rather than abroad.
Students wishing to study abroad should not feel as though there is not financial help as they do have the option of scholarships through many private businesses, particularly in areas such as accounting and finance.
Minister of Education Alden McLaughlin said ‘Just because universities are overseas, do not make them better.’
This is absolutely true, however, it is a common misconception for parents, students and businesses alike to believe that students graduating from international colleges and universities are smarter or better educated than those who have studied locally.
I could not bring myself to agree with the Mr. Anglin when he said that studying overseas ‘contributes to the social growth of people.’
He then went on to say that Cayman ‘is a damn small country’ and that ‘when you come from a small society, your minds tend not to be as open as those who live in larger areas.’
Cayman may be a small country in size, but we are far from being underdeveloped and uneducated.
Mr. Angling believes that maturity will only be found through a dormitory setting where students learn to take care of themselves.
That sort of personal growth should be taught in the home where children learn to clean up after themselves and are given chores, rather than having their mother or helper doing everything for them.
In addition, Mr. Anglin should be concerned more with the distractions of parties, drugs and alcohol that surround many campuses overseas rather than family being a distraction at home.
While I will admit that not all schools pose this threat to the education of students, there are many that do and there are many students that fall prey to this party life because there is no adult supervision to stop it from happening.
Having the drive and dedication to keep focused on the reason why you are attending any university is developed through self discipline that varies from person to person.
I could not write this response without stating the advantages of attending local university.
Attending UCCI has provided many students the opportunity to work while they are furthering their education, giving them the experience that so many employers are asking for now.
In addition, it allows parents the opportunity to better themselves while still being a part of their family’s lives.
In closing, I wish to ask businesses to fairly analyze local graduates with international graduates.
Look not only on which school they have graduated from, but also on their cumulative GPS, the courses they have taken and how well they have performed in the area they are specializing in.
It is one thing to graduate from college. It is a whole other thing to truly excel.