The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) and the College of The Bahamas (COB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish the BTC Scholars Programme, worth $250,000 over a five-year period.
The initiative is designed to provide higher education for academically qualified, but financially challenged, COB students.
Geoff Houston, BTC’s chief executive, said that as a major Bahamas-based investor and employer, the company considers further investment in education crucial.
“We recognise that a nation’s advancement is through its people. Education is key and BTC, as a major investor and employer in the Bahamas, recognises that it’s within its best interests to support learning institutions,” Mr Houston said.
“It is difficult to overemphasise the importance of education to the country – its progress and the raising of the standards of living for those fortunate enough to receive formal tertiary education.
“We are therefore more than happy to invest in our future and the Bahamas by providing scholarships to academically qualified youngsters, with a special focus on public schools from New Providence and the Family Islands, as these students oftentimes are most challenged with being able to afford a college education.”
BTC’s contributions to the BTC Scholars Programme at COB will fund the baccalaureate degree programmes for 10 students from both New Providence and the Family Islands, beginning in fall 2013.
It will also contribute $10,000 annually to the University Endowment established to fund COB’s needs.
COB’s president, Dr Betsy Vogel-Boze, praised BTC’s record of philanthropy and its belief in tertiary education and the University of the Bahamas, which will come into force by 2015.
“This allocation is critical at this point in the College’s history as we endeavour to enhance budgetary efficiencies while engendering financial sustainability,” Dr Vogel-Boze said.
“Members of the College community will be able to have projects funded that substantially enhance our end-product, in ways that our budgetary constraints cannot ordinarily accommodate. BTC’s gift brings the College one step closer to its own financial independence.”
Students with a demonstrated financial need, who have successfully graduated from public high schools and are enrolled in a qualifying undergraduate degree programme at COB, are eligible to be considered for the scholarship.
Under the agreement, BTC will contribute $50,000 annually to COB for the next five years, funding that will provide scholarships for 10 students to attend the college and, soon to be, University of The Bahamas.
The agreement also provides for BTC to contribute to the University Endowment established to raise funding in perpetuity for the institution. This is an example of the kind of collaboration with the private sector that COB has been aggressively developing in order to drive financial sustainability.