Brac gears up for college

| 25/08/2008

(CNS): Between 125 and 140 students are expected to enroll in the Brac campus of the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) and Civil Service College (CSC) for the Fall season, the first year tertiary education has been taught on the Sister Islands.

Campus Director Martin Keeley said that he is expecting between 35 to 40 full and part time students to enroll in the UCCI courses, another 40 to 50 students will join the CSC and Keeley estimates 40 to 50 students for the continuing education classes, though he believes these are conservative estimates.

“This is very promising for an island that is experiencing tertiary education for the first time,” he said. Over the summer, UCCI ran courses in English, College Algebra and IT Business, and several mature students took advantage of the opportunity to build credit towards a degree.

“Because very few people on the Brac have experience with tertiary education, there is a learning curve for the community and the challenge is to explain what is and how it works and why it’s important for the young people to use it,” said Keeley, whose job it is to oversee the operation of building, inter-campus coordination, scheduling and use of classrooms.

He will also be teaching Environmental Science as an associate degree course. Other on-campus faculty members are Kevin Roberts (IT) and Richard Juman (English), both on the teaching staff at  Cayman Brac High School, as well as retired mathematics teacher and current School Inspector Edna Platts, and Richard Moss, who retired as Spanish teacher at the high school in June.

The majority of courses will be taught via video link, which will be live and completely inter-active and will run from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm in a set classroom at the Brac campus and one at the main campus on Grand Cayman, Keeley explained. Once every five to six weeks, teachers on Grand Cayman will come to the Brac to teach here and video-link back to Grand Cayman so the Brac students get to work with the teachers.

“The Cayman Brac Power & Light Co have three high school graduates working for them and part of their contract is that they attend classes at the UCCI,” he noted. “I’d like to see more businesses and government departments and authorities follow suit as an incentive for school leavers to continue education to a higher level.”

According to Keeley, Brac students often have problems when they go straight to college abroad because they’re too immature, not just in age but also academically. He said if they take a gap year to earn money towards their education, they need to keep up their academic skills and should continue their studies part time – at night, for example.

“This not only builds up credits towards an associate degree but also gives them a feeling of what’s expected at that level,” he observed, adding that he intends to work with the Year 12 students and the high school PTA next year to develop cooperation between the facilities.

Two courses planned for the near future that have already drawn a lot of interest are a construction design course taught by Building Inspector John Elliott and an electrical design course taught by Kenny Ryan, Chairman of the Board of the Electricity Regulatory Authority, Project Manager of the CBP&L new plant on the Bluff and past District Commissioner. A wide range of continuing education classes also start in September, including popular adult swimming courses by Michael Hundt, as well as a range of courses at CSC.

All students who have applied for the associate and bachelor degrees and certificate programmes at the Brac campus must attend an orientation at the facility in Stake Bay on Thursday, 28 August, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, when they will meet UCCI staff and teachers to discuss the coming year at the Brac Campus,and can also turn in any outstanding items on their application. Parents and guardians are also welcome to attend.

Students can still register on-line at the UCCi web site, where available courses are also detailed. Classes for the Fall Semester start on Monday, 1 September, 2008.

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