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Bahamas PM urges COB to uphold legacy of Dr Keva Bethel
By Lindsay Thompson
Aug 22, 2012 - 5:59:03 PM

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The College of The Bahamas named the “A Block” building the Keva M. Bethel Building during a ceremony at the Oakes Field Campus on Friday, August 17, 2012. Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie delivered the keynote address. Also pictured are Hon. Dr. Bernard Nottage, Acting Minister of Education, Science and Technology; Dr Betsy Boze, College President; Edward Bethel, son of Dr. Keva Bethel; and Dr. Gail Saunders, Chair, Steering Committee and Scholar-in-Residence, College of The Bahamas. (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)

NASSAU, The Bahamas - Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie urged administrators of the College of The Bahamas to ensure its programmes impact the continued development of the country, as the institution heads toward university status by 2015.

He was addressing the ceremony for the renaming of the “A Block” at the College of The Bahamas to the Keva M. Bethel Building, the main administrative structure where she spent most of her time after joining the faculty there in 1975.

The ceremony was held at the Oakes Field campus on Friday, August 17, 2012. The programme highlighted the life and times of Dr. Bethel in songs by the Renaissance Singers, tributes by acting Minister of Education, Science and Technology the Hon. Dr. Bernard Nottage and her son, Edward Bethel.

Dr. Keva Bethel became the first woman principal of the college in 1982 and the first president when the institution became autonomous in 1995. In 2004, she became President Emerita and in 2009 Scholar-in-Residence. Dr Bethel died February 15, 2011.

“It is indeed a privilege for me to be here today to join with all gathered and particularly the family of the late Dr. Keva Bethel, to celebrate her life and legacy and show our high regard for this esteemed educator by naming the college’s administration block – the former Government High School in her honour,” the Prime Minister said.

He noted that Dr Bethel throughout her stellar career worked tirelessly and lobbied relentlessly to impress upon national and civic leaders the need for educational reform.

“She held high hopes for our nation and believed that our dreams for upward mobility could only be accomplished through education and God’s will.”
The Prime Minister deemed it a fitting tribute to an educator who dedicated more than 50 years of her life to education and played a pivotal role in the development of two institutions – the Government High School and the College of The Bahamas.
She spent most of her time at the college in the A Block, plotting a course for educational transformation, academic distinction and active scholarship and crafting policies that would enhance the quality of tertiary education in the country, he said.

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The Ribbon Cutting was part of the official naming ceremony of the Keva M. Bethel Building, formerly the “A Block”, at The College of The Bahamas, on Friday, August 17, 2012. Pictured from left are the Hon. Dr. Bernard Nottage, Acting Minister of Education, Science and Technology; Dr Nicolette Bethel, Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences, COB and daughter of Dr. Keva Bethel; the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister; Alfred Sears, College Council Chairman; Edward Bethel, son of Dr. Keva Bethel and Dr. Betsy Boze, College President.(BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)

The Prime Minister also acknowledged Dr. Bethel’s work in 2007 on the college’s “Bethel Report”, a document on collegial governance, which will support efforts in the transition to university status.

“We are every grateful for Dr. Bethel's’ contribution in this regard,” he said, adding that 2015 has been set for the transition date and the University Transition Secretariat comprising a cadre of competent and dedicated individuals has been appointed to oversee the process.

This five-member team has been given the charge to ensure that all stakeholders’ needs are given attention in the conceptualisation of the character of the University of The Bahamas, and in its identification.

The Transition Secretariat from Bethel’s Report on how the national university would incorporate the four major principles namely:
A commitment to national development;
A commitment to excellence;
A commitment to the concept of shared governance and
A commitment to academic freedom.

“Dr. Bethel’s meticulousness and excellence brand must be woven into the fabric of the national university just as they were into the establishment of the College of The Bahamas,” the Prime Minister said.

Describing her as a consummate educator, he said she was always candid about the realities of the situation and always paused to let the record reflect that whatever she was involved in had no room for mediocrity.

The transition report states that, “The Committee recognised that, in a society that was all too often accepting of mediocrity, the University of The Bahamas must in all aspects of its work demonstrate an uncompromising commitment to standards and quality performance that would meet or surpass both national and international criteria.”

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Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, right, chats with the children of Dr. Keva Bethel - Edward Bethel, and Dr Nicolette Bethel, Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences, COB , following the official naming of the Keva M. Bethel Building, at the College of the Bahamas, Oakes Field on Friday August 17, 2012. (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)

“That is Dr. Bethel’s charge to us in actualising our national university. I am certain that all who worked with her will confirm that it is so like her to be unequivocal   in her statements about standards. We therefore respect her by adhering to this stipulation,” the Prime Minister said.

He added, “While we will realise the dream of the University of The Bahamas shortly, we must acknowledge and be gravely concerned that the current state of affairs in education tell us that almost 50 percent of our high school leavers will not be qualified for entry into this institution of higher learning. This is something that we must address before 2015.”

Following the Prime Minister's official opening address, the Keva M. Bethel Distinguished Lecture Series was held with Dr Errol Miller, Professor Emeritus of the Institute of Education of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, as the Distinguished Lecturer.


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