The Government of Barbados is committed to raising the profile of the Barbados Community College (BCC) to that of a first-class tertiary institution, which meets world-class standards and has the ability to cater not only to local persons, but also people from other countries.

This commitment comes from Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, who toured the college yesterday; along with Principal, Dr. Gladstone Best, and BCC and Ministry officials.

Mr. Jones said efforts would begin immediately to assist the college with its move to award undergraduate degree programmes, to satisfy persons who were currently not being catered for by the University of the West Indies.??

These new degrees will be offered in Physical Education; Fine Arts, with special attention being paid to the music programme; Nursing and Pharmacy.

However, Mr. Jones admitted that other necessary developments, like the physical expansion of the plant, would need to be implemented over a period of time, as this would be an expensive venture, involving, among other things, the identification of needs, as well as discussions with architects and the Town and Country Development Planning Office.

The Minister pointed out that physical expansion was a challenge since all the available spaces where buildings could be constructed on the campus had already been utilized. Nevertheless, he said, the Principal had come up with a number of ideas to dealt with this problem, one of which is to build classrooms on columns above existing car park facilities.

Dr. Gladstone Best explained that the college was in the process of developing a strategy to ensure the continuous development of its staff.?? He added that this strategy would not only assist persons in reaching the pinnacle of their academic careers, but keep those who are already at the top up-to-date with new developments.

"We need to ensure that staff who are already well qualified at the Masters or PHD levels have a continuing professional development strategy.

This will involve allowing them to be part of networks, seminars and conferences to ensure they remain current with their areas of specialty," The Principal said.

The tour was a follow-up to a meeting between top BCC officials, Minister Jones, and personnel in the Department of Higher Education at the Ministry.?? It identified areas in need of support and highlighted current upgrades at the college.??

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