COB Students alarmed at budget cuts at COB – What happened to Doubling the investment in education?

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Former NIB Executives now raid COB as school is set to increase fees on students – Government Must Remain Committed to its pledge to Double Investment in Education and not resign its commitment to a “SEXY” election rhetoric!

Christie Government must not let members of Cargill team raid COB LIKE NIB?? How is it these same people always end up living off taxpayers?

Open Forum Announced for 2pm on Tuesday February 19, 2013

Nassau, Bahamas -The College of the Bahamas Union of Students (COBUS) is alarmed by the decision of the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to cut subsidies to the College of the Bahamas by no less than 45% over the next five years, a move that has been met by silence from the College Council and Senior Administration of the College of the Bahamas.

In late December 2012, the Ministry of Finance informed all public corporations and statutory entities via written letter that in light of the current economic situation and the associated fiscal burden, the Government of The Bahamas will have to reduce its subsidies to them. Unfortunately,this is to include The College of The Bahamas incurring an initial 10 percent reduction taking effect in the 2013/2014 Fiscal Year, an increased reduction to 25 percent in total by the 2014/2015 Fiscal Year, and a risen 45 percent reduction in total by the 2017/2018 Fiscal Year.

New hardworking Minister of Education, Jerome Fitzgerald set to slash services for students!

The Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, despite their professed belief in Bahamians,despite the clear importance of education as the most pivotal asset of any society to create and sustain a peaceful and democratic society, and despite their promises of  doubling investments in education  and establishing a  focus on young people  during the 2012 General Elections and as recorded in their Charter of Governance, have now sent instruction to the College of the Bahamas to cut its limited$25 million subvention in the midst.; and all this while, at the same time, mandating the College of the Bahamas to become a University by 2015. And in their dictation of all of this, they’ve acted without consultation, dialogue, or discussion as to the true and valid consequences such an edict will cause.

This autocratic, vision-less attempt to cripple the national institution, which has been working on the mandate to move to University for years now, is perplexing and terrifying. This may be the straw to finally cripple our national ability to educate our own citizens.

This is a crucial time for our country. For OUR College, this crisis is unfortunately just the latest in a string of arbitrary crippling, harmful administrative practices, and irresponsible leadership decisions at the College   refusing hundreds of promotion inquiries, stagnating entity operations with newly-placed budget restraints, and not responding to issues of grave importance such as ill-furnished classrooms and graduation setbacks, to name a few.

There is almost complete unanimous agreement among middle managers, students, faculty, and staff at the College of the Bahamas, that Senior Administration s currently-proposed plan to increase student tuition, to align contact hours with credit hours with no regard to the implications this may have, to orchestrate a discontinuation of programmes with national agenda, and to instill a moratorium (suspension) on new programmes without research and data, is shortsighted and ill-informed. To even propose such a financially-crippling decision is made more alarming by the lack of effective, wise, transparent, truthful and knowledgeable leadership. As much as it is a financial and budget crisis for us, it is a crisis of failed leadership. In an institution of higher learning, and in sucha crisis, it is clear that the current management and leadership style at the college has greatly deteriorated over the past years from the vision of Sir Lynden Pindling and Livingstone Coakley to the chairmanship of the College Council, Bishop Michael Eldon and the wise leadership of President Emerita, Dr. Keva M. Bethel, first instilled.

Should all OUR hard work, OUR belief, and OUR dream that education, the essence and source of liberty, democracy and peace, be dashed by the poor leadership decisions made by the Government and COB Senior Administration, unbeknownst to those of us who are impacted by the decisions made?

It is our belief that the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is responsible for guiding the direction for the College through policy and legislation and to put in place alternative avenues for funding. Senior Administration has the responsibility to formulate the vision and mission of the College through the implementation of effective and efficient administration of the college’s resources. COBUS feels let down by both the Government and the College s Senior Administration who we see as failing in their responsibilities to the College s students, faculty, staff, middle managers,general public, and future of the Bahamas by this new decision.

Saying nothing is not an option for the College of the Bahamas Union of Students. Letters, emails,meetings, and other formal and informal ways of trying to have the issue addressed have fallen ondeaf ears. Now it is time to put our promise into action.

Clearly there is an international economic crisis. COBUS is well aware of this. We are also well aware of the dire situation our families find themselves in. We’ve witnessed 140 mothers and fathers be let go just the other day, while tens of thousands of work permits were given to individuals of other nationalities. We understand the turmoil being incurred and faced. We live it. And this is even more the reason for us to stop, reconsider and re-direct the resources of this country.

We ask  &  Do you or don t you believe in Bahamians? When will we see this in action? We are also aware that there are models that have been followed that DO NOT CUT EDUCATION,social services, or health care in countries with challenges similar to ours. Education is the foundation for building a society we deserve.

We submit that the crisis and the imminent chain of budgetary cuts at home have been compounded by poor management by Senior Administration and other entities who are responsible for the resources, limited resources that we have. Our Government s in words has recognized the importance of higher education and the need for required resources. We ask, Please put the money where until now you have just given  ‑lip service . Clearly the Government and College current proposals and failed myopic path, if implemented as is being proposed, will result again in the burden of their failure being passed onto students, faculty, and staff to bear. Further, the offspring of those college students today will suffer most as the budgetary cuts continue.We must not let this happen.

The present response to our situation by both Senior Administration & the Government calls into question the  ‑real  plans for Bahamians in their own country. We question the decision-making taking place, not to mention the leadership capabilities and vision. Before there is any buy into any increase in tuition, any alignment of contact and credit hours, any cancellation of any program or any slowdown of the work we do, we MUST have information to make informed decisions and we must have answers to the following questions. We need to help SAVE OUR COLLEGE.

Why hasn’t the operations budget and overall 2012/2013 fiscal budget been made available to the College Community and public at large yet?

How can any decision about any cut or realignment be done without the information being made available?

How can the College introduce an increase in tuition if they continue to give poor and mediocre quality of service to the students and general public?

What would happen to the 5 and 6 figure salaries of the members of Senior Administration and their frequent oversea travelling?

Where is the focus on interdependency, self-sustainment, enterprise and entrepreneurship?

Where are the plans for revenue generation?

Students and education are not only the future of the Bahamas, but we are also the present. The ideas and bureaucracy of the past are no longer responsive or relevant to this present or our future.COBUS, representing student concerns and national development will share with and educate the Bahamian people concerning these issues. We will attempt to engage in productive dialogue with government representatives and college administration personnel, and will engage members of the College community and public to join in our voicing of our concerns. We hope the public will join us.

As such, we are holding an Open Forum at 2pm on Tuesday February 19, 2013, Independence Park(park on COB grounds), to address these concerns. We invite all students, faculty, middle managers, staff, and members of the general public to attend.