By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – The Technical Mission of Taiwan and the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) continues to forge ties in their commitment to transforming the innovative and entrepreneurial landscape of Saint Lucia, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday July 14, 2021 at a ceremony held on the campus of the College.
His Excellency Peter C.Y. Chen, Ambassador of Taiwan to Saint Lucia described the signing as a milestone and said it could not be timelier as it consolidates the strategic alliance between the two partners.
Taiwan understands the global marketplace and requirements of the next generation of talent and expertise in science, technology and software integration, coupled with its comparative advantages in global trade.
Taiwan Fellowship – Fulbright programs offer forward-looking partnerships that Saint Lucia and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) can develop through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami (TECO).
A report by SALCC says the signed innovation hub agreement between Taiwan and SALCC will provide capacity-building opportunities and training programmes as well as enhance the existing partnership between the parties in agriculture, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) education, innovation, teaching of Mandarin, vocational training and any other area of cooperation mutually agreed upon.
In the traditional modality, the government and people of Taiwan pledged to promote knowledge sharing and the exchange of technical expertise for the development of the innovation hub at SALCC – the only of its kind in the OECS.
“The innovation hub aligns with the College’s core pillars of sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship which emerges from the strategic implementation plan in the transition to University College status, according to Brent St Catherine, head of the innovation hub and gateways to Global Careers programme, adding “ultimately, we see ourselves becoming the Caribbean’s Silicon Valley.”
In addition, says the communication: “The innovation hub will aid in upgrading the global competitiveness of College graduates and the wider economy of Saint Lucia through the provision of technical assistance and start up incubation as it is aligned with the College’s Gateways to Global Careers programme which has been in operation for the last several months. The Labs which will transform how education is delivered towards immersion and experiential learning will include a Technology Lab, a Food Lab, an Environmental Sciences Lab, a Virtual Lab and a Digital Fabrication Lab.”
The innovation hub will be housed at the College’s main campus and will operate in partnership with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, ministry of education, OECS Commission, Invest Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Chaitech Alliance for Green Innovation and Technology, National Competitiveness and Productivity Council and the Global Environment Facility.
Principal and president of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, Dr Keith Nurse who signed on behalf of the College, indicated that the innovation hub “really sets us apart from many of the community colleges and several universities that are already established in the region,” is, therefore, able to make a significant contribution to Saint Lucia, the OECS and the Caribbean.
Minister for education, innovation, gender relations and sustainable development Dr Gale Rigobert, witness signing of the MOU, thanked the government and people of Taiwan, noted: “We are able to dream here in Saint Lucia beyond the natural capacity of the consolidated fund because of unwavering support and partnership such as this, and this MOU is another testament of the partnership and belief in the path that Saint Lucia is on.”