For 126 high school students, the possibility exists for them to complete a bachelor’s degree by age 18, by virtue of their enrollment in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Summer Youth Program across Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute’s (BTVI) New Providence and Grand Bahama campuses.
According to BTVI officials, upon completion of high school and the three-year program at BTVI, students will be able to enroll at BTVI and complete an Associate of Applied Science within one year in the information technology field. They can then move on to New England Tech in the United States to complete a bachelor’s degree in another year, said Anthony Ramtulla, BTVI chair of information technology.
“So if a student is now 14 years old, they will have their associate’s degree by age 17, and a bachelor’s degree by age 18, not to mention the number of industry certificates as well,” said Ramtulla. “With this program, the seed will be planted for these young people to become the leading experts in software engineering, network engineering and information technology management in the nation,” he said.
Alexandria Herard and K’Shaun Stubbs, two teenagers enrolled in the summer program, were excited.
Herard, 14, a student at D.W. Davis Junior High School, joined the program with her life’s goal in mind; for her it was not just another summer program.
“I was looking for something productive to do over the summer, and I heard about this program. It seems to have some great benefits, especially the international certifications. I have dreams of opening my own pediatric hospital that will use technology to allow patients with challenges to communicate. This program is a step towards my dreams,” said Herard.
Stubbs, a student at Mt. Carmel Preparatory Academy, is adamant about not being left behind in a technologically advancing world.
“The world is becoming electronic, and we as young people have to keep up with the pace,” said the 14-year-old. “I joined this program to expand my knowledge of information technology so that I will be able to apply it to my future,” she said.
The ICT Summer Youth Program was launched in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd at the opening urged the students to take their futures into their own hands, and to rise above their circumstances and environments so that they can take full advantage of the opportunity.
“You are among the first generation that’s going to have a different opportunity through training, through mentorship, through education, through opportunities like this. [This program] is going to engender a new culture in The Bahamas. It’s a culture called innovation,” said Lloyd.
BTVI President Dr. Robert W. Robertson said the training would assist in bridging the skills gap in The Bahamas and in developing Grand Bahama as a knowledge-based center in the region.
“BTVI wishes the members of the first cohort of the ICT program much success as they take this first step towards achieving their future goals,” said Robertson.