The University College of the Cayman Islands will open its new satellite campus on Cayman Brac in January at the 5,500 square foot Kirkconnel building, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said Thursday.
“We’re going to make it, as close as possible, in a small setting, a real college campus,” Sister Islands MLA Moses Kirkconnel said.
Initial student enrolment is expected to be around 200, not including government workers on the Brac who will attend classes at the Civil Service College. The first phase of classes at the new campus will include technical and vocational studies, continuing education, executive training, and information and communication technology courses.
UCCI President Hassan Syed said the Brac campus should have a full academic schedule the same as what’s offered at the main campus on Grand Cayman within a year of its opening.
‘It has six lecture rooms there, four allied rooms, office and it’s a stand alone building,’ Mr. Syed said.
‘There is no education provision physically located in the Sister Islands, a situation which has historically left residents of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman at a severe disadvantage, requiring them to travel further a field in order to receive higher education,’ Mr. Tibbetts said.
Close to 200 civil service workers are forced to travel to Grand Cayman for training as well.
Education Minister Alden McLaughlin noted rapidly rising enrolments at UCCI in the past two years more than justified the opening of the satellite campus. The school’s enrolment has gone from about 650 students in 2005 to an estimated 3,600 students this year.
Mr. McLaughlin said the Brac campus would cost government in the neighbourhood of $200,000 to $250,000 a year to run. The rest of the funding will come from student fees.
‘The reality is the University College, even as it currently stands, isn’t viable in financial terms,’ Mr. McLaughlin said. ‘The government contributes more than $3 million a year to its operation.’
Mr. Syed said UCCI has done a business model study for the Brac campus. He said one of the methods they would employ to bring in more revenue would include working with partner schools to bring students or business executives from colder climes to the Brac to take classes in the winter months.
He also said the introduction of an offshore financial certificate programme is hoped to swell enrolment at both the main campus and at the Brac.
‘This is the first certificate of its kind in the world,’ Mr. Syed said. ‘We have had a tremendous amount of interest in this programme.’