Posted: October 25, 2006
Nancy Adamson '73, vice president and provost at Galen University in Belize, will give a talk titled "Higher Education in a Developing Country: Issues, Challenges, Opportunities" Tuesday, October 31, at 4:30 pm in the Cassani Lounge in Shattuck Hall.
This talk will use Belize and Galen University as a case study to look at the role of private educational institutions in Central America. Access to higher education in the Caribbean and Central America is currently a "hot" topic for educators, governments, and potential students. The larger Central American countries have been well served by universities founded hundreds of years ago, though access has been largely based on class and connections.
The smaller Central American countries, as well as those in the Caribbean, have not had the population to support local universities, but came together in the 1940s to adopt the University of the West Indies as a regional university. As former colonies became independent in the period 1960-1980, the new countries began to explore the possibility of providing more local and affordable higher education to their citizens. Small populations (in many cases less than a million people), high foreign debt, no system of student loans, and limited government income restricted the options of governments to meet the needs of their population.
It was in this setting that a group of people formed Galen University in September, 2003. Private universities can play an important role in the social and political development of countries such as Belize, as the experience of Galen University illustrates. Galen University offers "North American style" education to Belizean students and provides financial support. The university is able to do this because it attracts international students for study abroad and degree programs.
Adamson's visit and talk are supported by the following centers, programs, and departments at Mount Holyoke College: the Center for Global Initiatives; the Center for the Environment; critical social thought; earth and environmental studies; anthropology; Latin American studies; and educational studies. For further information, contact Harold Garrett-Goodyear.