NCU opens new campus in St Ann’s Bay
Dr Lincoln Edwards (fourth left), President of the Northern Caribbean University, cuts the ribbon to mark the official opening of NCU’s North Jamaica Regional Campus in St Ann’s Bay, St Ann, on Thursday, June 28. Looking on are members of the university’s senior faculty and members of the St Ann business community.
Dr Ransford Davidson, Business Relationship and Sales Manager at JN Bank, says he anticipates that the decision by the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) to open a new campus in St Ann’s Bay will have a positive impact on the long-term socio-economic growth of the parish.
Davidson was on Thursday delivering the keynote address at the official opening of the institution’s North Jamaica Regional Campus, located at the Evansville Business Complex on Gloucester Drive.
“The establishment of this institution in St Ann’s Bay marks another aspect of the maturity of our parish and our communities. We anticipate that this will bring even further social and economic development to the surrounding communities,” he said.
“I believe it will provide increased opportunities for prospective students to receive tertiary training to lift themselves and their families out of poverty,” Davidson added.
The North Jamaica Regional Campus is one of three regional campuses operated by NCU and replaces the institution’s older location in Salem, Discovery Bay.
Davidson said for many years, residents of St Ann, and the north coast by extension, had little or no opportunities to acquire university education, unless they were willing to migrate.
“For many of us who wanted to pursue tertiary training, we had to leave our families and journey to Kingston or Manchester. Apart from the fact that this created additional expenses, it also contributed to the significant brain drain of our respective communities; because, in many cases, when our brightest and best left for Kingston, they often did not return,” he said.
Dr Ransford Davidson (right), Business Relationship and Sales Manager at JN Bank, along with Dr Lincoln Edwards (centre), President of the Northern Caribbean University, and Dr Karl Archer, President, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, tour the library of NCU’s North Jamaica Regional Campus.
The JN Bank manager said the establishment of this facility is therefore of critical importance, not only to solve those existing issues, but also to influence changes in the economic landscape of St Ann’s Bay.
“Our community is growing; and there are certainly increased opportunities for employment and entrepreneurial pursuits, outside of the conventional tourism market,” he noted.
He challenged the university to fully integrate itself into the community and lives of residents through research and development.
“This includes creating more opportunities for students to work with social enterprises; using businesses and research to create change; and by boldly tackling social problems,” he added.
Meanwhile, Davidson also encouraged prospective students to think carefully when choosing a course of study.
“Do not simply go for what is trending or what your mother or father think you should study. Do your own research. Assess and analyse current and future labour market demands, to ensure that you are industry ready, and that you have selected a profession which can lead to prosperity after graduation,” he advised.
He further noted that JN Bank stands ready to do its part in the transformation of Jamaica’s education system, and to build the capacity of a network of institutions to improve the quality of educational services.
“We have been working with many secondary educational institutions, through the iLead project, led by the JN Foundation, to break the cycle of underperformance in some of our schools and to yield successful student outcomes,” he said.
He said JN Bank also pledges to do its part in enabling more Jamaicans to pursue tertiary education through the provision of affordable financing to fund tuition needs. “We know the value of education and what it can do in transforming our nation,” he said.
Dr Sherrice Lyons, Director of Regional Campuses at NCU said the move to St Ann’s Bay is strategic and will further enable the university to better serve the parish’s business community.
“It will also ensure accessibility for students from St Ann as well as those who may choose to travel from as far as St Mary and Trelawny,” she said.
She said very soon the St Ann’s Bay campus will join NCU’s other regional campuses in Kingston and Montego Bay, St James in offering full-time degree courses, thus reducing the exodus of residents to other parts of the country.