Summary

SummaryAcknowledgementIntroductionWhy Should We Help?The BenefitsThe Venture ItselfHow to Avoid the Marie Antoinette SyndromeThe Action PlanConclusionSelected Bibliography


An unparalleled opportunity is open right now to BCIT that would bring enormous benefits to the institute, both tangible and intangible.

BCIT could be the first North American post-secondary institute to reach out to and help the developing world. Seizing this opportunity would result in an even higher public profile for BCIT and enormous goodwill and prestige. As well, another educational offering could be added to current programs that would possibly attract more students.

I would recommend that BCIT focus on Africa. It is by far the most desperately poor continent in the world and much of BCIT’s expertise and knowledge could be used there. Many arguments could be put forward against helping Africa, for example, the supposed laziness and culpability of the poor, misspent foreign aid money, Africa’s corruption, and the mandate of the UN and national governments to take charge. However, these arguments are groundless. Instead, enlightened self-interest, as well as common human concern for others less fortunate, unequivocally justify helping.

By taking full advantage of this opportunity, BCIT would be seen as both dynamic and visionary.

Two possible ventures that BCIT could undertake are to adopt a village or adopt an educational institute. African villages are in grave need of nearly everything: upgraded food production supplies and technology, basic health care, education for both children and adults, power, transport and communication systems, safe drinking water and sanitation. Most of these requirements could be supplied by BCIT technologies, including civil, electrical, electronics, and mechanical engineering, business management and accounting, architecture and building, and health sciences.

To implement this venture, partnerships and funding sources would have to be researched and contacted. Possibilities include Vancity Credit Union, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the Commonwealth of Learning, amongst others.

Action should be taken immediately to take full advantage of this opportunity. BCIT should be the first to do this, but if time is wasted, another post-secondary institute will surely grab this opportunity, and we will lose our chance to be a dynamic and progressive leader and innovator.

I would like to request a partial release from teaching to pursue this extraordinary opportunity.