WANTED: One Authentic Homegrown University

Let’s examine the facts and be brutally honest about it. We do not have a Grenada University nor a St George’s University in our country since the definitive “St George’s” is a misnomer.  What we have is an American university indoctrinating our people with pedagogy based on U.S. ethnocentric culture values.

T A Marryshow Community College (TAMCC), our highest tertiary institution, is a dysfunctional anachronism modeling products for the demands of “Big Brother”.  Forty (40) years after independence it is neocolonialism re branded.

But do not misconstrue this as advocacy for closing down St George’s University (SGU) and “throwing away the baby with the bathwater”.  In absolute terms SGU contributes the highest volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the economy, some 16.5% gross domestic product (GDP).  It employs almost 900 nationals and its corporate social responsibility in Grenadian scholarships exceeds U$26.5 million.  So, “money talks” and SGU is “a necessary evil” here to stay.

However, we need a university truly dedicated to the needs of our indigenous economy, a home grown university with home grown curriculum and home grown program content, mitigating cultural penetration and the rampant “brain drain” hemorrhage of our intellectual capital.

The imperative of a university for the people and by the people is long overdue.  National universities exist all over the Caribbean, Grenada the odd man out.

Consider the following.  Jamaica boasts fifteen (15) university institutions, four prioritising domestic needs, namely, the University of Technology, Northern Caribbean University, B&B University College, and the University College of the Caribbean (UCC).

Guyana has eight (8) including Greenheart Medical University, Georgetown Medical University, Rajiv Gandhi University of Science and Technology, and the University of Guyana.

Our neighbour Dominica has Ross University, Victoria Brookes University, and the Caribbean University School of Medicine, and St Lucia the University of the Southern Caribbean, University of Queensland, Spartan Health Science University, and the International American University College.

A national university stands vanguard to a nation’s legacy, its cultural heritage, and identity.  It is functionality oriented to the socio-economic construct bridging the disconnect between academic and real life exigencies. Mass social engineering, a new rethinking, and a reconstituted national curriculum train minds for productive, meaningful roles in nation building.

But change is never welcomed by backward reactionary forces and elements with hidden agendas to score cheap political mileage.  In recent times this change initiative provoked a storm of pusillanimous missives and mischief on the media that went viral on the internet.

Moreover, in capitalist society conflicts of interest between politics and economics make it difficult to see the big picture.  But with rapidly changing global dynamics anything static is condemned to the dustbin of history.

The good news is notwithstanding detractors, a group of visionaries have been building global networks and strategising different modalities to create this university. With stakeholders, potential diaspora financiers, and government hierarchy, the optimum solution was found to be consolidation of TAMCC and Grenada University of Science and Technology into a single tertiary institution.

With this corporate strategy both organisations will cease to exist and a new one emerges – the University of Grenada.

The world is with us as evidenced by amazingly positive feedback.
The strategy, conceptually brilliant in its simplicity, will launch a venture of historic implications for Grenada.

The consolidation has two strategic advantages. Firstly, it brings a pre-existing stock of resources to the table including physical infrastructure, a technology-oriented virtual outreach mechanism, global affiliations with academia, and an established student base.

This obviates the need for massive start-up capital, allowing focus on rapid expansion.

Secondly, amalgamation builds capacities and creates synergies and scale economies that deliver empowerment.  The new university inherits the best of both institutions and resource reallocation maximizes efficiencies.

The Grenada University will be established by an Act of Parliament and a Private Public Partnership (PPP) facility defines business relationships.  This implies government support not exceeding 49% with private financing accounting for the remaining 51 percent.  Hence, the institution retains autonomous control while government performs a regulatory function.

Grenada deserves the best and will deliver the best.  What is envisaged is a modern, state-of-the-art, world-class institution for higher education, research, science and technology granting undergraduate and postgraduate degrees of international quality standards.

Current international collaborations include Florida State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management (CPTM), University of the West Indies, and the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ).      The TAMCC complex will receive a facelift transformation with enhanced facade and facilities of a university campus.  Faculty divisions will honour the achievements of Grenada contemporaries nationally and in the diaspora with departments such as the Slinger Francisco Center for Indigenous Studies, the Lewis Hamilton Institute, and the BeHarry School of Law, avenues identified for robust individual financing.

This university will be a multimillion dollar project financed by Private Public Partnerships, donors, sponsorships, investments, and government grants.  All stakeholders will have to rally around this noble venture and make the University of Grenada the pride of the region.

Jay Bruno

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