STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE SHARIE B. DE CASTRO
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, YOUTH AFFAIRS & SPORTS
THIRD SITTING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FIFTH
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
THURSDAY, 7TH SEPTEMBER 2023
STATEMENT ON RECENT INITAITIVES AT H. LAVITY STOUTT COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Madam Speaker, I take this opportunity to apprise this Honourable House on the recent notable developments at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. 672 students are enrolled this Fall semester for certificate and associate degree programmes. Included in this total are 77 high school students dually enrolled at the College – the largest number to ever take advantage of this programme. These students are from Elmore Stoutt High School, Bregado Flax Educational Centre, and Ciboney School of Excellence.
Madam Speaker, I heartily congratulate these students for embracing the opportunity to get a head start on their college education. As they take general education classes over the next academic year, they will be able to shorten the time needed to attain their associate degree at HLSCC prior to transferring to complete their baccalaureate degree.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the College has recommenced its Associate degree in Teacher Education under the Institute of Education and a total of 25 persons have registered, 21 part-time and 4 full-time students. This bodes well for our ability to prime our immediate workforce needs with graduates while ensuring that more students take up potential scholarships in teacher education abroad.
Madam Speaker, the Institute of Education is also collaborating with the Ministry of Education to deliver the Let’s Teach VI programme to equip new teachers with the foundational skills required for their new roles in the classroom. This programme will run from October through May 2024 and will consist of nine modules delivered via a blended modality for students across all of the islands.
Madam Speaker, the Robert Mathavious Institute at HLSCC will be hosting the capstone presentations and graduation of 18 students in the second cohort of the Certificate in Fintech. Allow me here to express my sincere thanks and appreciation on behalf of the College to the Deputy Premier for advocating for a grant of $75,000.00 from the Government of the Virgin Islands to defray the tuition costs of Virgin Islanders. This cohort boasted teams of students that worked on projects for the Inland Revenue Department of St. Kitts, the Ministry of Health Nursing Council St Kitts, BVI Finance, and HLSCC.
Madam Speaker, the RMI has recruited new faculty and current enrollments stand at 23 students pursuing ACCA certifications. Several students are working towards completing RMI certificates in International Financial Services and Compliance. The RMI is currently taking applications for various diploma levels of the International Compliance Association.
Madam Speaker, the College must also be commended for its new relationship with the prestigious Fulbright programme. Through the US-UK Fulbright Commission, HLSCC has established the BVI Fulbright Scholar Award. This programme brings professors from universities in the United States to spend 6 months in residency in the BVI, teaching at the College, conducting interdisciplinary research, and delivering public lectures.
Madam Speaker, over the summer break, the College kept busy. It delivered its second annual cultural summer camp which included historical tours of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Guana Island, culinary lessons, sports, games, numerous community presentations, and a cultural extravaganza. In addition, HLSCC continued its long partnerships with KATS by hosting the KATS Basic Sea Skills camp at the Centre for Applied Marine Studies where students learned to sail and operate rowboats along with the necessary safety skills.
Madam Speaker, the College continues to attract international attention and partnerships. Earlier in the summer, the College and the Unite BVI Foundation hosted the Well/Beings Mangrove Symposium with a number of international guests as well as a forum between the mangrove nursery project teams at both HLSCC and the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust. Both mangrove projects receive considerable funding from the Well/Beings Group.
Madam Speaker, the Centre for Applied Marine Studies continues to be a centre for meaningful research. The Darwin funded soils project in partnership with the Department of Disaster Management and the University of Portsmouth represents real potential for several applications that require testing the soils of the territory. The Centre also hosted a visiting group of professors and students from our sister school Guttman Community College in New York with particular interest in marine and environmental science.
Madam Speaker, with respect to workforce training, the College has recently expanded its Beyond Curriculum offerings with a series of technical workshops in partnership with MarineMax and Nanny Cay Resort and Marina. The first course in Air Conditioning Systems was delivered by Tim Craveiro of WEBASTO while the second in Water Making Systems was delivered by JT Halden of Halden Marine Service on behalf of SPECTRA Watermakers. This month, HLSCC will be offering courses in Basic Outboard Engine Tech with Mercury Marine and Basic Diesel Engine Tech with Volvo-Penta.
Madam Speaker, the College is also looking forward to the third BVI Lit Fest in collaboration with the Department of Culture and the BVI Tourist Board with sponsorship from the Unite BVI Foundation, VP Bank, National Bank of the Virgin Islands and others. The festival will be from the 2nd to the 5th of November as one of the first activities of Culture and Tourism Month and I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to attend any of the several events planned. An impressive list of guest authors has been confirmed and more information will be made public shortly.
Madam Speaker, the President of the College has just returned from representing the College at an academic fellowship at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study in South Africa where he worked on a future manuscript and delivered a literary lecture alongside scholars from across the world.
Finally, Madam Speaker, I wish to encourage us all to support the important work that the College does as it completes the first year of its new strategic plan. The institution is tasked to play many roles in the Territory and when it succeeds in its mission, it can be a true source of national pride for all of us.
Thank you Madam Speaker.