Presidential Update – January 2018

Meeting with Student Leaders of UB

Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat –President, Dr. Mariot Simon – Vice President, Dr. Jean Perriott – Dean of Student Affairs, Mrs. Rose Pineda – Registrar met with the executive members of the UB Student Governments. President Sankat welcomed the student leaders and offered all of them best wishes and continued success.  Discussions were focused on student concerns, notably students’ inability to pay their tuition and fees at the required deadline, which has now been extended to March 30, 2018.  Professor Sankat asked the SG leaders to encourage students to meet their obligations and to consider student loans from DFC as an option.  The next update was on Graduation Exercises that had been agreed to by SG for a Graduation Ceremony in PG on June 14 and one ceremony in Belize City on June 16 for Belmopan, Belize City and Central Farm campuses.  Students who have met graduation requirements are now able to apply for their official UB certificate prior to the Graduation Exercise.  President asked the SG to urge students to participate in the Graduation exercise even after receiving their certificates. SG members expressed ongoing concerns in their specific area including infrastructure, inadequate lighting, parking lots and cafeteria upgrades.  President reassured SG members that all of these are on his priority list, however they are welcome to work along with the Director of Physical Plant, Mr. Francis Burns, for assistance including other projects that SG would like to execute.  These include a Palapa in Belmopan and a cafeteria in PG.  President Sankat thanked all the student leaders for taking time out to attend the very productive and informative meeting.  He reminded them that UB is a Student Centered University and he will continue to work with them to improve student experience at The National University.

Meeting with Financial Institutions to support loans to students of UB

In an effort to provide relevant, affordable and accessible education to UB students and to ensure that students are able to meet their financial requirements, Professor Sankat, Dr. Simon and Mrs. Sherlene Julien – Director of Finance, have been meeting with financial institutions to encourage them to develop dedicated student loan facilities. One immediate option is the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) that has attractive student loan facilities. All students who would like to explore this option are invited to a presentation by DFC representatives at the Jaguar Auditorium on February 7 from 2:00pm -3:00pm.

Meeting with Chairs and Joint Board of the National Council of Education (NCE) & National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET)

President Sankat met with the Chairs of the NCE & NCTVET, key stakeholders of education and senior leadership of the Ministry of Education. President Sankat shared with these boards the Transformation Plan of UB. He fielded questions on how these plans will shape and improve the services and programs offered by UB. President Sankat emphasized the current challenges at UB especially that of finance and he asked the Joint Boards for their support of the University of Belize. This meeting demonstrated considerable goodwill for UB particularly in light of the thrust to move more to Bachelors and Graduate Degrees.

Meeting with Faculty Focus Group to treat with Faculty Contracts

Professor Sankat, Dr. Mariot Simon and Mrs. Hertha Gentle – Director of Human Resources met with the Faculty Focus Group in a follow up meeting to update and provide feedback on major HR topics including that of contracts for faculty. The President indicated that this was a pressing matter the he wants completed as soon as possible. The meeting was very constructive and a way forward with respect to Faculty Contracts for all is being finalized by HR for further review.

The India-Belize Center of Engineering Project (IBCE) – Visit to Georgetown Technical High School

Professor Sankat and Mr. Francis Burns visited the Georgetown Technical High School located in southern Belize to exam the facilities there. The main focus was to get a closer look at the Workshops that were funded by the European Union Project: This is to be used as a guide for the India-Belize Centre of Engineering (IBCE) project. A MOU was signed in December 2017 by the Government of Belize and the Government of India to execute a project which seeks to upgrade and modernize the existing workshops at the Department of Engineering in the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Belize. A new workshop will be constructed on the Belmopan Campus through this project.

Gift from Koop Sheet Metal

The University of Belize has participated in The La Ruta Maya River Challenge for many years. This year the Black Jaguar Intramural team have been practicing since October 2017. President Sankat was grateful to receive a check of $3,000 from Mr. Peter Koop from Koop Sheet Metal to assist with defraying expenses. The President expressed his appreciation to Mr. Koop and asked that he meet with the Spanish Lookout Business Community to build a partnership with UB.

Caribbean Food Crops Society meeting in Belize July

President Sankat met with the Chair and CEO of the Caribbean Food Crops Society, Dr. Wilfredo Colón to discuss the hosting by Belize of the upcoming annual meeting of CFCS scheduled for July 8 – 13th, 2018. This would be very beneficial to UB and to the entire country of Belize as Agricultural Research, innovation and best practices will be showcased. Members of Faculty of UB will be encouraged to present papers at this conference. The meeting will include stakeholders from the food, agricultural and business communities from Belize, the wider Caribbean Region and Central America. An update will be provided on this in the upcoming weeks.

Let’s Build UB Together