SPEECH BY PROFESSOR LOUDEN ON THE ACC/CDB LAUNCH OF THE ANGUILLA COMMUNITY COLLEGE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT APRIL 7TH, 2014, LA VUE HOTEL, ANGUILLA

anguillian
By anguillian April 11, 2014 09:11

 

 

Professor Delroy Louden

Professor Delroy Louden

Hon Chief Minister Mr. Hubert Hughes, Deputy Governor Hon Stanley Reid, Madam Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon Jerome Roberts Minister with responsibility for Education, Hon members of the House of Assembly, The leader of the Opposition, The Commissioner of Police, BOG of ACC, Permanent Secretaries; CDB representatives, AHTA and ACOSi colleagues, Members of the Clergy, the media, other distinguished guests ladies and gentlemen – Welcome !!

Today is indeed a very special day in the educational history of the island of Anguilla as we are now closer than we have ever been to having our own purpose built tertiary education institution. This milestone has taken sometime in coming, but we thank the CDB and its staff, the Government of Anguilla as well as previous Governments for making this long overdue day possible.

My staff and I want to assure you and the people of Anguilla that this investment in our tertiary educational system is not only a worthwhile one, but one that will bear fruits beyond our wildest dreams. By this commitment we are sending a clear message to the people of these shores and beyond that the ACC is an integral part of the educational institutional fabric of this island. It will undoubtedly contribute to nation building, strengthening the infrastructure and human resources needs. As an institution, ACC will inevitably address varying issues with vigorous debate providing at all times evidenced based approaches.

One of the most vexing problems facing contemporary governance today is the floundering of existing institutions in dealing with contemporary challenges so clearly evident in our prolonged fiscal and monetary policies are evidently antiquated and outdated. These include the alienation of our young people from the political process; the gridlock in our parliamentary system in getting things done; and what the late Professor Rex Nettleford – (UWI Mona) “called the coarsening of our public discourse”. Indeed, things have gotten so bad that it forced the well-respected Economists magazine to focus a recent issue on CAPTIONED What’s Gone Wrong With Our Democracy AND HOW TO REVIVE IT. We at ACC will do our uttermost to contribute to civility in our public discourse- following the late Sir Winston Churchill’s remark – I disagree with what you say but I will die for your right to say it!!

It is worth reminding ourselves that we in the Caribbean are not new to building our own educational institutions often with the support of the churches from all denominations. Between 1825 -1834 the number of Anglican schools increased from thirty four to four hundred and five in the Lesser Antilles and British Guiana. As schools mushroomed throughout the West Indies competing missionary societies anxiously staked out spheres of influence- the Methodists and the Baptist sought to gain ground in Jamaica although in 1835 Methodists had only one day school in the island.

We must remind others who may not wish to know or those who do not know that as a region our thirst for education is not new. Indeed, many of our high schools boast a well-established history e.g. in Jamaica : Woolmer’s – 1729; Jamaica College 1789; St Georges College 1850; and Calabar 1912 Dominica: Dominica High School for boys 1893; St Mary’s Academy 1932 Grenada: Anglican High School 1895 Barbados: Harrison College 1733 Codrington College: 1773 William Green in his treatise on the British Plantation states that:
“Some vestries voted money to meet teacher’s salaries and to relieve the poor from paying fees for education, and in Barbados as elsewhere private persons liberally donated land, materials, labour, and money for the erection of schools “ (9 August 1841-colonial office 28/140 no. 12)
As the evidence here suggests building was never left to government alone the whole community was historically involved.

Support from London came in June 1833 when the House of Commons pledged itself through the Imperial Grant to assist in the education of freed men and cabinet endorsed a plan for state subsidy for religious and moral instruction. Parliament at that time approved £25,000 annually for West Indian Education, £20,000 of which was to be spent in general construction. In 1837 the Parliamentary grant was raised to £30,000 and it remained so until 1841.

Vocational and Technical Education From the very inception there had been a difference in attitude between planters and apprentices concerning the purpose of education. “Planters sought some method of combining practical industrial training with the cultivation of intellectual faculties. But apprentices were averse to industrial training recognizing it for what it was, a plan to persuade their children to continue in plantation service”. Here, ladies and gentlemen, lies the genesis of the schism between vocational education and the more traditional academic subject areas to this day!!! It’s in our DNA!!

Caribbean governments were urged to appropriate money from their own resources to promote Negro education, British Guiana responded generously followed by Trinidad who distributed funding on application to Anglican, Catholic and Wesleyan groups. Legislative colonies such as Barbados were not so generous and it was 1844 before Jamaica, and Barbados 1846 began general educational appropriations.
The Imperial grant to West Indian Education ended in 1845. At that time the feeling was that the working people of Great Britain should not continue indefinitely to subsidize education in the sugar colonies anymore: as was clearly expressed in the House of Lords at the time
“How much better able the negroes are to pay for the education of their children than our labourers”( Lord Russell 1841 CO 318/152)

As a community college we are unique in several ways; we provide the following:
• Key opportunities to retrain laid off workers and help them gain skills that put them back on the job or retool them for other opportunities ;
• We are an integral part of the solution to help get our nation out of the current economic mess;
• We are the best economic development tool in that we can tailor training programmes to suit the needs of industry;
• We provide additional education for working adults in the community or those attempting to gain employment skills;
• Our economy is changing, there are also emerging demographic characteristics in our population and in this new and evolving work environment ACC will be the driving force behind the future workforce;
• ACC is a cost effective institution as the figures illustrate when compared with those of a four year institution. A three credit course with cost $US 279 compared to $US 300 elsewhere; a three credit education course cost US 186 compared to $US 306; elsewhere, and a three credit course in a graduate programme cost $ US334 compared to $55o in other institutions; and
• We fulfill myriad roles offering a wide range of courses and programmes such as Early Childhood Education, Business, Hospitality, Geriatric Care, Graphic Design, Finance, Leadership, TVET, and we will also help students catch up through developmental or remedial classes and the teaching of English as a second language.
• We have established linkages and collaboration regionally and internationally with associations such as ACTI (Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions) and CCCJ the council of Community Colleges of Jamaica;
• We have published in per review Academic journals so that ACC can be seen in the wider Academic Community.
• We continue to write grants for external funding recognizing that dependence solely on government is not sustainable for ACC.
• We have established our Corporate Solutions Programme as a way of strengthening our links with Public and Private Partners where we will take our programmes to industry sites to meet their training needs.
• The evidence is now incontrovertible that climate change and ecosystem degradation are urgent threats to the environmental, social, and economic health of our communities. Most of the climate disruptions and ecosystem changes in recent decades are the result of human activity intended to meet our growing demands for food, fresh water, fiber, and energy.
• To prevent the most catastrophic outcomes of global warming and to build a sustainable society –one that incorporates values, systems, and activities that are environmentally sound, socially just, and economically viable requires bold and immediate action.
• The emerging transition to low carbon and sustainable economy holds great promise for economic growth and prosperity, innovation, and job creation. New green technologies and discoveries coupled with demand for forward thinking policies that advance sustainability and encourage public –private investments are starting to transform the economic landscape as products, services and jobs are reoriented towards a greener future.
• It is these features that make Community Colleges the workhorses of higher education.
• As a young institution ACC has the opportunity to exercise leadership in creating a thriving healthy society by modeling ways to eliminate global warming emissions , creating living classrooms, integrating sustainability principles into our curriculum and educating and preparing workers for new, reoriented or emerging jobs in a clean energy economy.
Challenges: While there is significant potential for ACC to help the island of Anguilla meet college completion and workforce development needs, there are challenges ahead.
One of the most significant is improving the way remedial education classes are structured to help students finish more quickly and to reduce the need for these courses altogether. They have the potential to discourage students from finishing college and indeed the more of these classes these students take the less likely they are to get a certificate or a degree.

It is imperative that we continue to focus on access and success as well as excellence and innovation because it has serious implications for this island’s competitiveness and our future economic prosperity if we are not able to adequately educate tomorrow’s workforce.

Finally, President Obama when he addressed a joint session of Congress on February 24th 2009, stressed the need to strengthen community colleges so as “to building a firmer, stronger foundation for growth that will not only withstand the future economic storms, but one that helps us thrive and compete in a global economy:”

We at ACC family say a loud AMEN to that observation.

(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

anguillian
By anguillian April 11, 2014 09:11

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