The Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s has unveiled plans to transform the T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) and to turn it into one of the leading tertiary institutions in the Caribbean.
This was disclosed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Senator Simon Stiell while speaking to members of the media at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing held Tuesday at the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens.
Sen. Stiell said the island has received half a million United States dollars from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and the Ministry of Education will be seeking ways in which TAMCC and its academic offerings can be brought up to par with regional campuses.
He stated that “a dedicated and well informed team” needs to be put in place at the TAMCC faculty and government’s moving to hire new faculty members to bolster existing positions such as Principal and Deputy Principals.
“We will be looking to employ a President, two Vice Presidents, and a Director of Attainment in the first instance. That will form the senior leadership of the college…”, he said.
Sen. Stiell announced that a committee has already been put in place and working to identify those persons that are needed to transform the college.
He said it is possible that recruitment can take place from within the college itself or on the outside.
“Applications are welcomed from existing members of staff together with other persons in the education and management field here in Grenada or within the region or internationally but we are seeking to find the best persons that are available to lead this transformational thrust of the college,” he told reporters.
According to Sen. Stiell, the plan is already beginning to take shape as Dean of the School of Continuing Education, David Fleming has been appointed to the post of Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at the college.
He also said that government is also looking at restructuring the roles and functions of the three TAMCC campuses at Tanteen, St. Patrick’s and Carriacou and the agriculture-oriented, Mirabeau campus.
He stressed that the campuses require significant infrastructural upgrade and the grant funding from CDB will be used on their decentralization.
Sen. Stiell disclosed that an infrastructure and development committee has been set up to look at the upgrade of those facilities, and to see how Centres of Excellence can be set up within them.
The intention, he said is to facilitate a new curriculum that is needed in technical and vocational training which “we see as an important and critical part of our tertiary education system to provide our young men and women the necessary skills and knowledge at a practical level to be able to address the labour opportunities that exist right now”.
“There are many opportunities that exist today that are under-served in terms of the skills-sets that are required and that re-development approach will ensure that you have those Centres of Excellence spread around the country”, he said.
The government minister stressed that the new emphasis is to ensure that “all our young men and women” can benefit from those educational services that can now form a part of TAMCC.
According to Sen. Stiell, the primary goal is to provide world class facilities for “our students and our teachers to push TAMCC to the ultimate goal of being one of the lead tertiary institutions here in the Caribbean”.
“…This isn’t about having as many subjects on the syllabus as possible, it’s ensuring that the subjects that are being taught, are relevant, are in demand and for us to focus our resources there.
“So, part of the re-development will be looking at which sites are most appropriate for certain disciplines.
So, take Mirabeau as a current agricultural school, how can we expand that? How can we link that in with our vision for the development of our agricultural sector? What needs to be done there?
Sen. Stiell told reporters that it is the view of government that the enhanced development of the TAMCC mini-campuses would be critical for the benefit of prospective students.
In this regard, he said that emphasis will be placed on, “How can we expand that? What additional subjects can be taught there so that we do not have to transport students from the north of the country, down to the south? Let us look at the distribution of sites that represents the distribution of our population, so that we can make it easier for persons to obtain a decent education.
“…So, we will be looking at what needs to be done to facilitate the development of Tanteen to break down and start again which would be completely impractical. There is limited space there, so you would have to take a very practical approach as to what can be done there but there is space at the other campus sites…” he added.