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COB President Outlines the University’s Role in National Development Planning
By Office of Communication, The College of The Bahamas
Jun 19, 2015 - 2:27:51 AM

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Participants of a press conference held on the National Development Planning process. From left are: COB President Dr. Rodney Smith; Minister of State for Investments Hon. Khaalis Rolle; Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis; Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie; Chairman of the National Development Steering Committee Felix Stubbs; and Head of the National Economic Development Planning Unit Mrs. Nicola Virgil-Rolle.

The University of The Bahamas will align its academic programming with the pillars of the National Development Plan (NDP), according to College of The Bahamas President Dr. Rodney Smith who participated in a panel discussion on Thursday as part of the “Transforming Government: United in Service” workshop held at the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre.

The government reaffirmed during the debate in the House of Assembly that the College will transition to the University of The Bahamas by the end of this 2015.

Dr. Smith, an enthusiastic advocate of the university’s leadership role in national research and development, said the completion and implementation of the National Development Plan is critical.

“The plan will determine the way forward for The Bahamas and it is therefore, crucial that the national university align its academic offerings with that path. If the plan calls for greater entrepreneurship, or more doctors, or further expansion of the maritime sector, the University will be poised to respond to those needs,” he shared.

As The University of The Bahamas becomes a reality, distance education will emerge as a natural mechanism to extend access to tertiary education throughout The Bahamas. Making courses for degree programmes and continuing education certificates available via the Internet under a proposed University of The Bahamas System is a priority, so is developing specific academic programmes suitable for each island.

Another key aspect of the University’s involvement in the national development planning process is through the provision of much needed research expertise.

“We are committed to increasing our research capacities at all levels and across all disciplines – scientific, social, political, environmental and cultural, ensuring that what we produce will provide a holistic approach to understanding and solving challenges while creating opportunities within our country,” said Dr. Smith.

Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie addresses the opening ceremony for the Transforming Government: United in Service Workshop held at The College of The Bahamas’ Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre on Thursday, June 18th, 2015.

“Producing research that is essential to the growth of the country and that will inform and impact what we do in The Bahamas will be a vital part of our existence as the University of The Bahamas.”

President Smith pointed out that effective implementation of the National Development Plan will need to be expanded to create a tactical document. That document would outline specific strategic objectives tied to the goals of the plan; measurable outcomes related to those objectives; anticipated deadlines and identification of units and agencies with responsibility for implementation of various aspects of the plan.

These tactical plans can become the annual operational plans for how each agency or ministry will achieve their NDP goals for the year and the budgets driving them will then be project-based, he said.

The COB President explained that the University will also have the capacity to report on national key performance indicators, a necessary aspect of NDP monitoring.

“The College is in the process of establishing a Government and Public Policy Institute that promises to become a vital resource for The Bahamas, the Caribbean and surrounding regions.  The new university will utilize the Institute to help in the implementation of the plan by reporting on annual national key performance indicators,” he said.

In a message that reiterated how indispensable the institution is to strategic planning, Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry Christie identified another critical mechanism through which the University should be of service. He asserted that the University must establish an institute charged with the training of the public service.

“Sufficiency of skills is a major factor inhibiting the public sector…and the private sector,” he said at the launch ceremony.

“…The University of The Bahamas must have an institute dedicated forever to the training of the public service.”

The College of The Bahamas has accepted its mandate as a driver of national development. It is anticipated that the expertise of faculty will be leveraged to provide strategic diagnostic, research and development support for the Government of The Bahamas. Faculty members have already completed situational analyses which assess key pillars of The Bahamas. They will help facilitate stakeholder meetings throughout the Family Islands and will assist with the creation of the National Development Plan document.

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