NCU should benefit from Gov't funding tooThursday, November 18, 2021
BY BURNETT ROBINSON
I read in a local newspaper the plaintive plea of Dr Lincoln Edwards, president of the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), who highlighted the high level of receivables owed to the institution by students.
That the institution is owed $577 million causes one to wonder how long the university will be able to continue to facilitate academic delivery. I applaud it for pressing forward and not delisting students.
For a private, Christocentric, values-based institution like NCU to have weathered so many economic storms, it is clear that it must be an institution of God's own planting.
As an alum I can testify that my life and achievements would have been well-nigh impossible if that institution had not taken this piece of raw material and fashioned it into what I am today.
Many there were who had no hope, no vision of a better tomorrow until NCU awakened in them that “higher than the highest human thoughts can reach is God's ideal for his children”. Many would today be relegated to the scrap heap of life had not that institution awakened the giant in them.
I have travelled to all but one of Earth's continents and on each one I encountered graduates of NCU making stellar contributions to nation-building.
The words I saw painted on the dormitory wall at Cedar Hall, my first day at the university, has been the high-octane fuel that has powered many of us to struggle to success: “If thou couldn't in vision see thyself, the man God meant, thou wouldst never more be the man thou art content.”
I herald the call, too, for the private sector and the Government to come to the rescue of faith-based institutions of higher learning that are impacting the nation. I believe those subventions given to other universities in the nation should also be given to NCU. If it can do so much with so little, imagine how much more frontiers could be conquered if the financial resources were readily available. After all, students who go there are taxpayers too.
The truth is, the traditional universities — The University of the West Indies (UWI) and University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) — are not able to absorb all those who seek higher education. Consider the void that would have been created if faith-based institutions like NCU did not exist.
NCU has played a pivotal role in the dynamic circle which allows both the young and old to self-actualise and enjoy sweet communication with Christ the Saviour. This is a fantastic institution with a most resplendent aura which is a guiding light for those on the verge of being forgotten by the mainstream.
As it relates to the Students' Loans Bureau (SLB), I think the requirements for accessing loans are stringent and prohibitive for the average person and those requirements should be revisited, revised, and subsidised.
The SLB can make funds available without the stringency of getting co-signers by putting proper measures in place, such as bonding students upon graduation, witholding transcripts until obligations are met, or reducing beneficiaries' loans based on service to country or government agencies.
Helping NCU remain open and functional is an investment in national development; it is as a long-term investment. Such a move will ultimately support the economic growth of the country.
I hope the plea made here can start a conversation that will put pressure on the Government and public sector to invest in this and like institutions.