Grenadian Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Dr Nicholas Earle Brathwaite believes that the failed venture to make the T A Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) a premier institution in the Caribbean, should once again be pursued.
As one of the former investors in the initiative to transform TAMCC, Dr Brathwaite said, “things didn’t work out the way we hoped it would… but that objective needs to be pursued.”
He was speaking on a Communal Cooperative Credit Union-sponsored local media programme, which focused on the way forward for Grenada post COVID-19.
Dr Brathwaite called for investment in the preparation and development of young people and pointed to education as one of the pillars to realise his vision for Grenada to have a “vibrant sustainable economy with opportunities for everyone.”
The venture flopped when the Government failed to honour the requests of Cabinet-approved President Dr Judeline Innocent, a teaching and management professional, an executive Dean at the School of Health & Community Services at Durham College in Canada. She was highly recommended by Brathwaite and was expected to spearhead the transformation of the College by taking up duties in September 2018.
The impasse between Government and public sector unions over pension and gratuity was the reason Government gave to explain its refusal to fulfil the demands of Dr Innocent.
“Those had to do with health insurance and pension. We felt as a Government with our local challenges we did not think it was wise to proceed with an arrangement that was way beyond even the demand that we had locally that we could not accommodate for our local persons,” Minister of Education, Hon Emmaline Pierre told The Grenadian Voice in June 2019.
Consequently, due to Government’s inability to secure a President for TAMCC, the PETNA Foundation, headed by Mr Brathwaite, withdrew from the MOU with its $1 million commitment.
The PETNA Foundation, which brings financial resources and intellectual capital to projects focused on Youth, Education, and Community Development, via letter in March 2019, communicated its desire to withdraw from the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed in October 2016.
This MOU was signed between Government, TAMCC, PETNA Foundation and McMaster University to execute a 5-year project to build capacity to develop TAMCC so that it can become self-sufficient and a leading institution in the region.
Among the MOU’s objectives are to build capacity, set new standards for leadership, faculty development and curriculum review.
The PETNA Foundation’s $1 million was pledged towards faculty development and curriculum review. The monies were to be paid to Mc Master University which was responsible for that task.
“At TAMCC we matriculate about 1% of our population every year, there is no better way to impact the workforce and develop intellectual capital than investing in TAMCC. But we are not going to get there without the right leadership,” Dr Brathwaite said.
Senator Winston Garraway in April told the media that Government will continue to look for partners for the restructuring and development of TAMCC saying, “It has been Government’s commitment towards the upgrade of TAMCC because we know the value of the institution and the students who pass through. The development of our students is the development of Grenada and this has been our constant drive.”
In February 2019, Minister Pierre told this newspaper that, “We have regrouped and we have decided to continue the recruitment process in search of a president.”
The search is expected to also be for senior management to run TAMCC; two vice presidents to support the President and the Director to spearhead the transformation of the College.
As Dr Brathwaite spoke to the need for development in education on last week’s programme, he called for development in technical skills – computer science, programming, etcetera, that will be necessary in the future and to leverage extra curricula activities.
He also pointed to the need to partner with top global institutions for scholarships that are in line with Grenada’s economic strategies.
The technology entrepreneur, who is the son of one of Grenada’s former Prime Minister Sir Nicholas Brathwaite, noted that today’s curriculum is too rigid and that must change. He stated that future jobs require multidisciplinary skills, a combination of science and humanities.
“Having a university degree is not enough, as individuals need to be trained in such a way where they can contribute almost immediately after studies,” he said, as he implored upon employers to give young people the opportunity to make a difference.