NASSAU, The Bahamas — Minister of Education, Science and Technology the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald said individuals sometimes ask him why Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie chose him to be the Minister of Education.
“I respond by saying, he told me when he offered me the position that the transition of The College of The Bahamas to The University of The Bahamas was of paramount importance to him and the country, and he thought that I was best equipped to accomplish it,” Minister Fitzgerald said during the Charter Ceremony for the University of The Bahamas and the Inauguration of Dr. Rodney Smith as President at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, November 10, 2016.
The Minister said that he has said on many occasions that there is no great city anywhere in the world that does not boast of a world-class university. “Today, the city of Nassau, and by extension The Bahamas, is now a member of that class.
“There can be no doubt that our country’s future growth, success and sustainability will be inextricably linked to the University of The Bahamas. In fact I would go further and say our future is dependent on the University of The Bahamas.”
He said the University will be the place where the brightest minds will congregate and test the elasticity of their imagination and the substance of their theories. Researchers will tackle complex challenges — locally, regionally and internationally. Young people will exchange ideas and cultures. Problems will be solved, dreams manifested, and lifelong friendships cultivated.
Minister Fitzgerald remarked he truly believes that The Bahamas is experiencing a paradigm shift that will enhance its economy, expand its intellect and sustain the country’s people for generations to come.
He said having had the benefit of a world-class education, he has always been cognizant of the inequality that exists for those who are unable to afford tertiary level education. “That has been the main driving force behind me encouraging the Prime Minister and my colleagues to more than double scholarship funding over the past four years. I am proud to say that scholarship funding has increased over the past four years from $7.75 million to $16.2 million.”
Minister Fitzgerald declared, there can be no doubt that education is the great equalizer, and it should be blind to the condition or background of the deserving student.
“I want all of you to leave here today with this assurance: it matters not which school you attend, it is of no consequence in which community you live; your parents’ educational background, or place of work is of no relevance — as long as you believe in yourself and your God-given talents, and you are prepared to work hard and dream of success, there is a space reserved for you at your University of The Bahamas.”
Thousands of students and Bahamians joined with the staff, faculty and students as The College of The Bahamas became the University of The Bahamas. Prior to the Charter Ceremony, Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling unveiled the UB plaque at the University’s entrance.
By Llonella Gilbert
Bahamas Information Services