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Nothing wrong with a Bahamian university

Published: Sep 30, 2013

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Dear Editor,

It is difficult to find anything cogent or compelling in the comments of Pam Burnside regarding our supposed lack of a need for a University of The Bahamas.  In fact, given the extreme minority of the population that they would seem to represent, it is tempting simply to ignore those comments as unhelpful but ultimately unharmful.

However, the factual basis of her assertion that we “cannot afford” a university simply must be challenged by reference to cold, hard comparative facts.

Belize, a country of 330,000 people (to our 350,000) and a per capita income an eighth the size of ours, has had a university since 1986 without going bankrupt.  Guyana, a country of 800,000 people, but with a considerably smaller GDP and a per capita income about a 10th the size of ours, has had a university since 1963.

Of course, in both these cases, it is merely a matter of nomenclature, as The College of the Bahamas far exceeds them in faculty, infrastructure and facilities.  We simply require higher thresholds for the use of the term “university”.

Burnside would do well to acquaint herself with real world facts if she views The Bahamas (a country that ranks just under Japan and just over New Zealand in terms of wealth per capita, according to the World Bank) as too “poor” for a university.

Or perhaps she thinks it good and fit that the tens of millions of dollars Bahamian parents spend yearly on U.S. and U.K. universities should keep going overseas rather than stay home and fund a Bahamian university.

– Andrew Allen

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