By The Bahamas Tonight, Jan 29 2015 11:44PM
In an address that sought to elicit the support of the public and private sectors in driving the resiliency of the future University of The Bahamas, College of The Bahamas President Dr. Rodney D. Smith has revealed how the institution will bring leadership to the national development planning process, strengthen its productivity in research, and solidify even more partnerships to meet key objectives.
President Smith was one of several key speakers at the Bahamas Business Outlook held on Thursday, January 29th at the Melia Cable Beach Resort and delivered a speech entitled “The Role of The University of The Bahamas in Our Society”.
Dr. Smith asserted that an investment in the national university will have a direct and beneficial impact on the socio-economic and political stability of The Bahamas and the country’s future.
He also explained how The College of The Bahamas – which is transitioning to become the University of The Bahamas – expects to execute its leadership of the national development planning process. The College is currently the co-chair of the steering committee charged with formulating the plan, a process that has come about as a result of a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank.
“Our role is to provide the necessary research and data analysis for the plan. We see our role in fashioning the National Development Plan, as one of ensuring a holistic approach to development planning, one that prioritizes sustainability, good governance, methodical implementation, assessment and a commitment to learn from the past, assess the present, and boldly look forward to the future,” he shared.
Dr. Smith also revealed that the College Council recently approved the creation of the Government and Public Policy Institute – intended to become one of the university’s centres of excellence – to generate key research-based information necessary for the formulation of the National Development Plan.
“These Centres of Excellence, like the recently institutionalized Government and Public Policy Institute, will help to brand the university, creating avenues for domestic, regional and international viability,” he said. “Through Centres of Excellence like this institute, the University will be in a position to not only produce annual, regional and national economic impact studies, but will provide the country with reports on national key performance indicators, as the National Development Plan is being implemented.”
Conducting the research necessary for informed public policy decisions and responding to national challenges will be a key part of the activities of this new institute as The College envisions a paradigm shift where it provides government consultancy services as necessary. This is considered a natural evolution of The College’s role as it stands on the cusp of university attainment.
President Smith explained that currently, the majority of contracted research for public and private agencies and corporations is being engaged through consultants and institutions outside of the country. But that is a practice that he hopes will change.
“The University of The Bahamas will be the go-to institution for the country’s research needs. We have the professional network to solicit and incorporate research professionals in all areas, while being identified as both the principal researchers and fund managers,” he said.
President Smith's vision of how the future University of The Bahamas will serve the Commonwealth of The Bahamas includes creating a university system that gives autonomy to the Northern Bahamas Campus (NBC). The NBC will become the vehicle for servicing the island of Grand Bahama and the rest of The Bahamas by offering programmes that support the corporate and industrial sectors. Like the College’s Oakes Field Campus in New Providence, the campus in East Grand Bahama will also transition into a residential campus.
“Through offering programmes specific to the development of industry in The Bahamas, we hope to create a unique campus that helps to further develop that vision. We want this campus to be the Centre of Excellence for maritime, industrial, manufacturing and entrepreneurial studies,” President Smith noted.
“…Integral to the development of the Grand Bahama campus is the creation of a publicly and privately funded business incubator, incorporating two joint programmes – one for students majoring in Entrepreneurial Studies and one for community members wishing to learn how to write a business plan, balance revenues and expenses, and sustain successful businesses. This will help to facilitate the growth of new business in Grand Bahama and prepare students to embrace opportunities as entrepreneurs themselves throughout the country.”
The Bahamas Business Outlook, organized by The Counsellors Limited, was held under the theme “Securing Our Bahamas Through Planning, Productivity and Partnership”. Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony.
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