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Minerva Schools wants to develop world innovators

Published:Thursday | December 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Alex Aberg Cobo

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

WITH THE aim of developing leaders, innovators and global citizens, Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) is wooing top university aspirants in Jamaica, offering a four-year programme of study in seven cities around the world at a cost that is half the average sum to attend Ivy League schools abroad.

As a fledgling university, having been established three years ago, Minerva is not shy to break new ground and is thinking outside of the proverbial box in order to provide affordable and first-rate education.

In year one of its programme, Minerva students stay at San Francisco in the United States where they focus on multimodal communication, formal analysis, complex systems and empirical analysis, while in the second year, participants will select their major.

The other six cities where students will complete their studies are Berlin in Germany, Buenos Aires in Argentina, New York in the United States, London in the United Kingdom, Mumbai in India, and Hong Kong in China.

Courses are available in social sciences, natural sciences, computational sciences, business and arts and humanities.

Alex Aberg Cobo, Minerva's managing director for Latin America, says the total cost for a student pursuing studies at the institution is US$28,000 for four years. He said this compares with an average US$60,000 to attend Ivy League schools in the United States. Of the total cost to complete a Minerva course of study, US$10,000 covers room and board and health insurance.

"Why are we so affordable? It is because we don't have a campus, the cities are the campus," Cobo explained. "A Minerva student will be a much better student than an Ivy League student by far," he assured.

Unlike many colleges and tertiary institutions in the United States, Minerva does not request the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) as an entry requirement. "We have our own exams, so that also levels the playing field, because if you are a US student and have the means to get a great tutor, then you can increase your score in the SAT significantly."

Cobo told The Gleaner that Minerva has its own exams which measure a range of skills including cognitive, leadership, resilience and motivational.

First Batch of Students

In September, the tertiary institution welcomed its first batch of 19 students, having received a total of 2,500 applications from 96 countries around the globe.

In addition to its entry exam, the university asks for solid grades and also significant accomplishments outside of academic achievements.

Cobo said the university welcomes students, even if they only have exceptional skills in one discipline and not necessarily scoring straight A's in other areas.

Minerva is an affiliate of KGI, which is a member of the Claremont Consortium of schools. "Though Minerva is very young, it belongs to KGI, that belongs to a consortium that has more than 140 years."

Nearly 38,000 students from Latin America and the Caribbean study in the United States. Of this number, 1,477 Jamaican students attend US institutions.