On Feb. 12, a press conference announcing the recommendations of the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) Joint Study Team Viability Report was held.
The purpose of this exercise was to inform the public that the Board of Governors and senior faculty and staff have undertaken the important task of formulating recommendations that will lead the University College towards fiscal success. This after the institution has experienced shrinking revenues for the past five years resulting in operating losses and an entity with limited cost flexibility and an unsustainable operating model.
Furthermore, it was to underscore the fact that this was only the first phase of an arduous process that will involve, among others, considering the input of the rest of the UCCI’s employees and forming teams that will look at each of the recommendations meticulously before they are discarded or implemented.
During the press conference, I elaborated on the first recommendation which suggested eliminating the two-year associate degree programmes in business and substituting a new four- to five-year business degree programme, run similarly as the bachelor of science degree in nursing.
Taken out of context by some media personnel, my comment appeared to have caused some dismay by members of the UCCI community and the general public and I wish to set the record straight.
I have the greatest respect for the students and alumni of UCCI as well as the professors, staff and administration. The same is true for the individuals and organizations who provide monetary and other assistance for our students. I would never undermine the value of their sacrifice and efforts in trying to pursue an education for a brighter future.
My intention was to reiterate the importance of ensuring that our graduates have a fighting chance in this globally competitive labor market. The best way I know how is to encourage them to pursue a bachelor’s and even a master’s degree after completing their associate degrees.
Having worked in the business industry for over 40 years and climbing up the corporate ladder from an entry level position to top level management, I know (and many, if not all, will agree) that it will serve our young Caymanian men and women well to take advantage of further education opportunities.
It is for this very reason that I believe it is imperative for us as an institution to work together to keep the doors of UCCI open so that we can continue serving the community. This will only happen if we achieve a comprehensive solution that will ensure viability, sustainability and restore fiscal balance.
The hard work and dedication of the UCCI community should be commended and we thank them all for their ongoing commitment to our students and our country.