The Minister for Education, Innovation and Sustainable Development, The Honourable Dr. Gale Rigobert was the guest of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College on Friday May 14, 2021, where she was updated on the critical achievements and successes of the College for the period 2019 - 2021.
Accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in her Ministry and the Chair and members of the Board, the Minister received a tour of the most recent and innovative developments at the institution.
The SALCC Team led by Principal Dr. Keith Nurse informed of the upward trend of the College in its global and digital rankings, its enrollment, and the expansion and revision of academic offerings at the College.
In this her first visit since Dr. Nurse’s at helm of the College some 18 months ago, the Minister applauded the Principal and his team for the ‘herculean work that had been done’ to put the College back ‘in vogue’, re-engineering of courses to appeal to up and coming professionals and introducing new areas of interest.
Total enrollment at the College jumped 15 percent in the 2020/2021 academic year, a significant achievement in the context of the impact of the global pandemic.
The College has improved its global and regional impact rankings according to Webometrics, and holds a ranking of number two in the OECS, as well as 94th place in the Caribbean.
Heads of Units also provided updates on a number of ongoing projects including the first innovation lab in the OECS and the newly opened Derek Walcott Library.
Mr. Brent St. Catherine, head of the Innovation Lab and Gateways programme explained that the lab will be a hub with the following areas of focus that will improve the global marketability and employability of SALCC graduates;
- AgriFood Tech lab with support from IICA will allow for agro-processing facilities and testing certification in the area of food processing and development.
- Environmental Testing Lab (equipment received from SLNCF and CBF – testing of water, air quality, soil and other environmental areas.
- Media Tech Lab with support from World Bank and OECS.
- Virtual Reality Lab – will service wider OECS region and is funded by Korea-World Bank Fund.
Mrs. Kathy McDiarmed, newly appointed Librarian of the Hunter J. Francois Library, provided a tour of the Derek Walcott Library which houses the personal book collection of the late Sir Derek Walcott. The collection comprises books, photographs and videos and reproductions of Sir Derek’s art. An online portal has also been established to house literary works and make it accessible to a wider population.
The Principal and Head of the E-Learning Unit, Mr. Royston Emmanuel, updated the Minister on the pathbreaking in the online education experience. The E-Learning staff increased from one to seven to manage the task of upscaling the College’s E-Learning platform and needed training. They have been able to service internal stakeholders –that is students and faculty, and external stakeholders offering training to educators within the region in how to utilize digital tools for digital education.
The Principal also disclosed plans for establishing an outdoor café in the courtyard area to make it more hospitable for staff and students, and a magnet for our business neighbours and wider community.
In this her first visit since Dr. Nurse’s stewardship of the College some 18 months ago, the Minister applauded the Principal and his team for the ‘herculean work that had been done’ to put the College back ‘in vogue’, re-engineering of courses to appeal to up and coming professionals and introducing new areas of interest.