The Ministry of Education has embarked on an initiative geared at attracting additional higher learning institutions in Florida to the island, as it seeks to build on the economic benefits already being derived from the services offered at the St. George’s University (SGU).
Minister of State in the Ministry of Education with Responsibility for Human Resource, Senator Simon Stiell along with Consul General, Warren Newfield recently concluded a tour of 5 Universities in Florida, including the University of Miami.
Addressing reporters at last week’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Sen. Stiell said “very productive discussions” were held with the Deans of 5 universities.
He cited one of the areas of discussions as the possibility of establishing distance learning bachelor and postgraduate programmes.
He said the hope is that the programmes “can be offered here in Grenada on a hybrid-type model where it’s not just all online study, but (also) visiting lecturers from the US to supplement the courses here in Grenada.”
According to Sen. Stiell, another area pitched to the universities was the possibility of generating interest that will hopefully see the establishment of schools in Grenada in various discipline areas akin to the SGU model, “in the area of environmental sciences,” among others.
“As you know SGU contributes 20 to 25 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It’s a multi billion dollar business attracting (approximately) 7000 students of which 3050 are from the United States,” Stiell noted as he explained the significant economic benefits to be derived once a deal is struck with one of the universities.
According to Sen. Stiell, the possibility of having “a school of dentistry,” that will attract international students as well as locals was another area of discussion on his recent trip to Miami.
“If we are able to attract another school in other faculty areas, even if we are able to just achieve 10 per cent of the success of SGU in the first instance, we would have a major economic boost to us”, he said.
“Clearly Grenada offers something very special in the area of education tourism,” he added while noting that the intention is to “compliment and not compete with what SGU is doing.”