Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2020. 1:00 pm CST.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
By Dr. Bernard Bulwer: “The University of Belize (UB) was designed to be hostage to whoever rules in Belmopan.” These are not my words, they summarize the words of former UB presidents and UB Board members … Quote me (Bernard Bulwer) on this.
“In the abundance of water the fool is thirsty.” Belize has proven local and international giants in education … who have a track record of excellence in many relevant fields. Moreso, UB has unique advantages that not even the likes of Harvard and Oxford have! Such universities offer “courses”; UB can offer “an entire country … and it’s uniqueness … As a course”. Indeed, many courses.
I am willing to bet … NOT ONCE has Belmopan decided to ask the likes of international Belizean star like Professor Arlie Petters for guidance. Galen did! He was listed on Galen’s Advisory Board.
I personally told and presented to the President and Board of UB in 2016, that a “UB Online Campus” should be a top priority. Apart from the global example of the benefits of Online Education for enrolled students, additional reasons I gave for the Online UB campus included:
1. It would “hurricane-proof” UB, meaning that buildings can be destroyed, yet UB core mission could continue largely undisturbed.
2. A UB online campus is a key way of empowering working Belizeans at home and abroad could sign up (plus pay), thereby killing two birds with one stone … Helping to educate and certify experienced working Belizeans, plus expanding the revenue base.
3. Online Education with international value (for international students) with courses unique to Belizean heritage and history. This Includes the Meso-America Reef System, Archaeology, Marine Biology, Flora, Fauna, Belize as a a cultural-linguistic bridge, etc. International students pay tens of thousands of $$$ for such, plus the benefits of practical in-country experience. Even Galen had such an archaeology course where foreign students paid US $10,000+ per semester!
4. In 2016, I negotiated with Harvard Medical School for CME (Continuing Medical Education) to be offered to ALL Belizean MDs through a UB Online Campus. The next step was to build a “University Hospital of Belize – UB campus” (without GOBs dollars) designed to take Belizean and regional/international medical education and healthcare to a new level of excellence.
CONCLUSION: The lightweight incestuous game that “UB-GOB” has played in times past resulted in a handicapped institution that is devoid of vision and woefully ill-equipped to face pressing challenges that were entirely predictable. All Covid-19 did was to hasten its exposure.
It is just another example of the tragedy of a nation which has had as its national priority (since self-government), the aim of limiting – not harnessing the great potential of its people – even if this means “cutting off their nose to spite their face”.
This has morphed even into a kind of self-hatred, where UB governance choose people who have neither the passion, the ‘cojones’, nor the true bonafides that deeply cares for Belizean students and our nation … especially for the future of our young people … who are our future!
If we continue to fail them, Belize will predictably fail.
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