Dr. Francis Severin to 2018 UWI graduates: "Do not get into the gutter with others"
Their education may be considered to be wasted if graduates adopt these attitudes and practices at their work places: self-seeking, proliferate untruths, are disrespectful of senior citizens and conceal knowledge.
Dr. Francis O. Severin, Director Open Campus Country Sites told graduates at a recognition ceremony at The Truth and Grace Fellowship Global on Independence Street , Roseau on March 22 that now that they have earned a degree or diploma they must not feel that they have a divine right and entitlement.
"In spite of or indeed especially because of your education, you should always possess grace, kindness, humility and elegance. Tragically, the historical Divide and Rule philosophy has worked well on our slave ancestors and descendants, and distressingly, for many, our education has not tempered our "selfish" and "mercenary" tendencies in that regard," Dr. Severin said.
"I urge you however, do not lash out at people. Always remain calm, well-mannered and cordial. Do not get into the gutter with others. Always retain your professionalism and dignity. Remember Bob Marley's message in his song Jah Live, "Is he who laugh last, children! Is he who win. Is a foolish dog bark at a flying bird!""
More than fifty Dominicans graduated last week from The UWI Open Campus in subjects such as Health and Family Life Education; Tourism and Hospitality; Human Resource Management; Management Studies and Education.
Among the 53 graduates there were only four males, a situation that speakers did not acknowledge; probably the phenomenon of male underachievement in education has become acceptable.
In the area of education, Dr. Severin took special note of the number of teachers who had graduated with master's degrees in education.
"I cannot conceal my particular pleasure regarding the support by the Government of Dominica to the 25 MSc Management and Educational Leadership students, 21 of whom are attending this Ceremony. I am advised that 24 successfully completed the programme in October 2017," Dr. Severin said. "I do not often engage in superlatives, as I find them to be superfluous and mundane. However, I am moved to depart from that philosophy by saying to you that this MSc Management and Educational Leadership cohort is an extremely successful group. Witness this fact: 14 graduated with Distinction. Many are Principals, Deputy Principals and Senior Teachers".
On the state of the structure at the Dominica Open Campus following Hurricane Maria, Dr. Severin reported that that the roof was now "100% covered" and that the site suffered damage valued at $800,000. He described the progress of work at the site as "nothing short of miraculous". But post-Maria looting caused much pain to site managers.
"It was very distressing for us, as a not-for-profit educational institution that had made every attempt to reach people where they are, way beyond the walls of the academy, by providing high quality education at reasonable costs, to be looted, purloined and plundered by criminals who we "compassionately" refer to as looters," Dr. Severin said. "This act speaks a lot to our lack of advancement as a civilization. I make no apologies in categorizing people who steal computers, laptops, furniture etc., differently from people who, desperately, steal food stuff. I think there is a moral and qualitative difference".
Dr. Severin also reported that currently in Semester II there are 246 students registered in online programmes and for Semester II, Continuing and Professional Education programmes, the Open Campus site has 120 students enrolled in four courses: Project Management; Supervisory Management; Advanced HR and the new Fundamentals of Local Government Essentials "written and developed for use in the entire Open Campus Country Sites by the Dominica Site".
Stephenson Hyacinth, the retired chief education officer was the feature speaker at the ceremony and Lisa Vital delivered the address on behalf of the graduates.
In his address Hyacinth suggested that graduates must take up leadership roles in their community and adlibbed to Prime Minister Skerrit who was sitting in the front row that as a leader he was "doing a fine job and obviously you must remain there."