Albany, Baker’s Bay, Eleuthera One and other private sector players are among those entities that have already indicated an intention to take advantage of the new partnership between the Culinary and Hospitality Management Institute (CHMI) at The College of The Bahamas (COB) and Kendall College and Laureate International Universities.
That agreement was signed yesterday in a ceremony at COB’s Oakes Field campus.
The mandate of CHMI is to prepare students for employment in the fastest growing industry in the world: hospitality and tourism. The institute’s leaders recognize this urgent mandate and have sought to rebrand some CHMI offerings through partnerships with the Poitier Global Training and Laureate International Hospitality Business Education – offered at Kendall College – to offer more flexible programs that will enhance accessibility for a diverse student population, nationally and internationally.
Foresight and forecast
Pamela Poitier, president and CEO of the Poitier Global Training Institute and daughter of Sir Sidney Poitier, asserted that education is power.
“I predict that in five years, The Bahamas is going to become the number one customer service country in the world. That is my prediction, and that is where we’re leading to, because we have the number one destination for tourism in the world.
“We are the prettiest site on the planet from space, and therefore we should have the prettiest customer service. And we can do that with Laureate, because they are worldwide. The tremendous opportunity for us to grow is going to make us shine like we are the best, because we are,” Poitier said.
Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu acknowledged that The Bahamas does indeed have the most beautiful space on the planet, but lamented that customer service in The Bahamas does not at all times reflect that beauty.
“A partnership such as this bodes so well for our future, for our sustainability,” Jibrilu said.
She noted that, in sports, one is always taught that participation is the thing, and that Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe, a former sportsman himself, has a different view: everyone only remembers the gold medal winner, he says.
“That’s what we’re aspiring to be, and this partnership will help us maintain, sustain and grow,” she said.
Emily Knight, president of Kendall College, located in Chicago, stressed that the program begins in January, and said she looks forward to Kendall faculty coming to The Bahamas to begin the work.
“This type of agreement is not common among institutions of higher education,” Knight said.
“I think whenever we do partnership agreements or get into arrangements that are good for students, good for industry and good for our country, it means something that we will tirelessly pursue until we complete. This is a great day for Kendall,” Knight said.
She noted that Kendall has 3,500 or so students around the world, and that the institution has perfected the ability to leverage the expertise and knowledge of faculty and partners.
Suzanne Pattusch, executive director, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) looks forward to the role the program will in play in readying the workforce and raising the standard.
“We have to continue not just to meet but to exceed the expectations. Value for money is a very, very important component of our tourism product,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to help integrate the private sector into what you are doing here at the university.”
A path forward
Meanwhile, College of The Bahamas President Rodney Smith said COB has determined that it must play a significant and vital role in helping to shape, educate and build the country’s number one business.
“Today, the fruits of our labor come to bear, as we officially enter into an agreement, with the world renowned Laureate International Hospitality Business Education, Kendall College,” Smith boasted.
Through this partnership, the college’s Culinary and Hospitality Management Institute will gain increased enrollment due to shorter completion times and multiple offerings each academic year, faster and easier matriculation for students entering into degree-level programs, greater cost effectiveness and value for students and added advantage for students who will be able to complete both the culinary and hospitality bridge programs simultaneously and exit to obtain entry-level employment if they so choose.
“As the college continues to partner on the creation of the National Development Plan, it is essential that we offer programs and courses tailored to the needs of the country. It is also essential, as we begin the final stretch toward attaining university status that we continue to build a strong regional reputation as a center of excellence for tourism studies and culinary studies. We truly believe that this partnership is a big step in the right direction to support both of these goals,” Smith said.
K. Quincy Parker
The Nassau Guardian
Published: December 17, 2015