This message is targeted primarily to the Final Year students even though I also include the 2nd Year and 1st Year students who will physically resume studies at their colleges in December. As I write this message to be posted on RP Website today, Sunday, 18th October 2020, I am mindful that many of you (Final Year students) are on the road travelling back to your respective colleges all across the country, to resume your studies which got interrupted in mid-March 2020. It would be an understatement to say that many, if not most, of you are apprehensive about the future. Rest assured that RP management is here to walk with you along the way as you settle back in your campuses, or continue studying remotely by online learning until December. Thanks to the huge effort by our Government in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, the spread of the disease is now low enough to allow for the gradual re-opening of schools from this mid-October.
Let me hope that most of you reflected on my last “Vice Chancellor’s message” which was posted on the RP website in July 2020. In that message I mentioned the following:
When the schools reopen in September (fingers crossed), the students shall have to adapt very quickly to a new normal. There will be requirements for social distancing, frequent hand-washing, wearing the face mask and frequent testing exercises, e.g. temperature monitoring. As I mentioned earlier, the mode of teaching/learning is going to be decidedly student-centered, meaning that students will be in charge of their own learning process through an interactive e-learning platform. A lot of responsibility, therefore, is going to be placed on the student for their health and well-being as well as for their education. There must be a heightened sense of community, a recognition that a careless act by one could lead to an outbreak of the disease. There will be need for patience and understanding, as we shall learn the ropes (so-to-speak) together as we go, because this is new territory for most of us.
The expected re-opening in September was deferred as the numbers were still relatively higher than anticipated; the health of our citizens has always been given the top priority by our Government. Now the final year students are coming back after rigorous preparations for maintenance of their safety and security in close collaboration with MINISANTE. I want to emphasize that the effort must be a joint undertaking, you (students) and us (teachers and leadership). I am very confident that you are all going to conduct yourselves responsibly and be watchmen and women, or better to say, guardians, of one another. If we all do the right thing, we shall overcome.
In the July message I ended my message promising to visit each one of the eight IPRCs; the promise still stands and I shall endeavour to come and personally greet you and tell you how much we desire to see you succeed in your studies and future endeavours and careers.
Let me hope that you did not miss out on the good news that now the Diploma A1 graduate is recognized to compete alongside the Bachelors A0 graduate for many of the jobs on the labour market, both in the private and public sector. I know that your focus now will be to study and finish and graduate, but it is wise to always keep an eye on the opportunities on the labour market. All you shall need is to present yourself confidently, of course after good practice. We are planning to work collaboratively with employment or recruitment agencies around the country to alert them of the skills you bring to the labour market. We shall also be working together with our partners to avail opportunities in entrepreneurship – short courses on how to start your own business. It will be extremely useful for you to remain connected to RP – we intend to set up an alumni platform to help us follow our graduates after graduation and to alert them of opportunities for Adult Continuing Education; we want our graduates to embrace the ethos of lifelong learning, a love of knowledge and a mind of enquiry.
Come on, let us get started; let us push on to transition our economy to an industrialised knowledge economy with a highly skilled workforce.