The Covid 19 context has ushered in a new paradigm for the College. Our traditional business model which depended on a government subvention for approximately 80% of our income is now no longer stable. Indeed, it has long been unstable and Covid 19 has now tipped the balance such that we must now rapidly expand and diversify into alternative and more sustainable sources of income as well as manage our resources better.
The College has done reasonably well to sustain the 20% that is generated principally from student fees which in relative terms are low when compared with the competition even here in our domestic market. Going forward we will have to employ imaginative ways to generate a higher return on the existing fee structures as well as create new offerings that can attract more sustainable income. A critical element of this involves breaking out of the narrow confines of the domestic market which is our only source market for students in recent decades.
With the massive decline in the tourism sector and related industries it means that the College must as a critical requirement spread its risk across multiple target markets with multiple product or service offerings. We will also have to better manage our expenditures to get a bigger bang for our dollar. Senior staff have been asked to make proposals on the matter and some have indicated already that there are several areas where we can deploy our resources better.
This is the new imperative!
I am of the considered view that we should not allow the decades-long dependencies to weaken our resolve. In this regard, I make a call for staff members to submit their ideas about how the College can strengthen its resilience in the current context. I know that the staff has a strong commitment to the College and wants to see better days. Let us combine our ideas to make it happen. Please submit your proposals by close of business on Thursday May 07 to the Principal’s office through the AA Dianthia Joseph.
In many respects we have begun the journey with some of the new programme offerings that have been designed to generate increased demand in the domestic context but also tap into regional and international markets. The BSN offered by the DHS is a shining example which is attracting enrolment beyond our shores. Another potential growth area is the ADs in the Gateways to Global Careers programmes. We are also introducing for the first time ESL and a programme entitled Pathways to Medicine.
Just last week senior staff and I had a chat with an international student recruiter that considers the College’s value proposition to be a winning one once we improve and sharpen our student services (e.g. hospitality, accommodation, meals on campus) as well as our overall services such as facilitating online payments for fees. We are working steadfastly on the latter.
We have achieved much in the online learning context in a very short timeframe and have emerged as a lead institution in the region. As testimony to our leadership the College will be hosting on this Wednesday May 06 an eSymposium entitled Digital Education: The Art of the Possible NOW! The College is partnering with the Ministry of Education and Digicel both of which have provided tremendous support to the College in the Covid 19 context and for this specific initiative. The goal is to use the eSymposium as a marketing tool as well particularly to promote the upcoming summer academies: namely the Kickstart summer academy targeted at students wanting to matriculate into the College for September; and the E-Learning academy which is focussed on helping educators, administrators and managers of the education sector embrace the new technologies of learning.
The marketing for the eSymposium has begun to bear fruit. At latest count we have had several hundred registrants half of which are local. The eSymposium has generated significant interest from far and wide. We have registrants from Mauritius, Bangladesh, the UK, other parts of Europe, North America, and across the Caribbean region. Clearly the College has turned an important page in its recent history and has begun to punch in a new weight category.
Dr. Keith Nurse