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My statements about Associate Degrees were not inaccurate – Eustace

My statements about  Associate Degrees were not inaccurate – Eustace

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Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace is standing by his statements in relation to the Associate Degrees offered by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC), but has not clarified whether New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Dr Jules Ferdinand {{more}} advised him on the position.

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT yesterday, October 6, Eustace acknowledged Dr Ferdinand’s positions on the UWI Campus Council (Cave Hill Campus) and that Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee. However, when asked about Ferdinand’s involvement in the matter, he replied: “I ain’t getting into any long dialogue over this.”

When questioned about his claim that an Associate Degree from the SVGCC does not gain students entry into degree programmes at any UWI campus, the Opposition Leader said: “Entry in the context of getting a year off – and you don’t get that!”

He added: “The point is this – none are accredited except those that were there from years before… people went into those programmes assuming they could get time off from university.”

At a recent press conference, Eustace asserted that Associate Degrees offered by the SVGCC are not worth the paper they are written on, and that persons wishing to go to UWI will not succeed in doing so on the basis of an Associate Degree from the institution.

He further said that the qualification in question will not entitle students to any time off the duration of the UWI programme they wish to sign up for.

Despite confirmation from Professor Alan Cobley, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Board for Undergraduate Studies (Mona Campus), that the UWI formally approved the use of Associate Degrees from tertiary level institutions in the region for normal matriculation and established agreements with the SVGCC for specific programmes, Eustace – in speaking with SEARCHLIGHT – is insisting that there was nothing wrong with his statements on the matter.

“I don’t think any statement is inaccurate,” he affirmed. “I don’t regard it as misleading. If you feel so then that’s a matter for you.”

Eustace reiterated his point that Associate Degrees from the SVGCC do not entitle holders to “time off” at the UWI, and once again challenged the Ministry of Education to name students who “ever got time off from university because of an Associate Degree.”

“I want to know whether students… are able to go in there and get the year off,” he insisted. “I want those fundamental questions answered. I am only interested in the answers to those questions… that determines for me what my position is.”

When further pressed on the inaccuracy of claiming that the degrees in contention from the SVGCC do not get students entry to any of the UWI campuses, Eustace dismissed the interview as a “waste of time” and abruptly ended the phone call.

“You are picking hairs; I am finished with this… you write what you want.”

Since SEARCHLIGHT’s initial attempts to elicit a response from Dr Ferdinand about whether he employed his knowledge of UWI regulations to advise the Opposition Leader on the party’s position, the NDP candidate in a Facebook message sent on Friday, October 3 said: “The issues that you wish to have me comment on are really better answered by Honourable Arnhim Eustace. I strongly suggest that you seek an audience with him in this regard.”(JSV)

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