Let universities work together - Whiteman
As Professor Colin Gyles takes over the reins from Ambassador Burchell Whiteman as president of the University of Technology (UTech), top on his agenda is to engage other universities in order to contribute to the development of Jamaica.
Speaking with The Gleaner following a reception held in honour of Whiteman, Gyles pointed out that going forward, there would have to be greater collaboration among tertiary institutions in order to build the nation.
"One of the things I'm going to see to it is that we foster cooperation among the different institutions. We as Jamaicans are very competitive, and competition is good because it brings out the best in you and forces us to move away from mediocrity. However, I think, as a people, we need to value the importance of cooperation because there is a place for it, especially when we are competing in a wider global space," Gyles told The Gleaner.
"While we compete, we must seek to enhance the collective output for the betterment of Jamaica, and that is one of my top priorities - working with my sister universities to see how best we can enhance the national output and the regional output. Vision 2030 is what I hold and what propels us," he continued.
UTech's secret contribution
The professor added: "UTech is a great institution which has remained almost a secret in terms of the contribution it has been making over the many decades to the development of this country. I must point out also that Ambassador Whiteman has been a blessing to the school. A number of things have been put in place that would move the institution forward and, I intend, for whatever time I'm here, that the fruit of those trees that have been planted will come forth."
Whiteman, in his reply, echoed the sentiments adding that tertiary institutions would have to step up to the plate in ensuring that they are the driving force behind development.
"I have had great times. Like any other institution, we have had challenges, and they are not behind us. There will be more in the future, but I have every confidence that under Professor Gyles' leadership, we are going to see good things happening. I want to thank you all. It was a privilege," he said.
"My hope is that as we go forward, there will be a more dynamic collaboration between the three critical universities of this country - the University of the West Indies, the Northern Caribbean University, and UTech, in the centre of them - bringing together a body of expertise in research and wisdom that can undergo training and preparation skills that will carry this country forward," Whiteman said.
"It is not enough to simply provide degrees that have value, but it is important that we become the place to which people look for the drive to build the economy and make the country a place of choice."