Jamaica News: The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) is to launch its paramilitary uniformed group for high-school students, called the Caribbean Merchant Marine Cadet Corps (CMMC), early in 2019.
In an interview with JIS News, President of the CMU, Professor Fritz Pinnock, explained that the group (which is an outreach of the university), was formed to have a positive impact on the behaviour of students at the high-school level, while teaching them about the maritime conscience.
“We wanted to take the successes of the discipline in our tertiary institution and replicate it in the secondary-school system,” he said, adding that the CMU is now going through the registration process to make it an official uniformed group in Jamaica.
“We took it into the high schools as another offering because it is connected to life, so this cadet corps is teaching young Jamaicans to appreciate the maritime space within which we live and operate,” he explained.
The President said that the CMMC currently has more than 1,600 cadets in high schools across the island and that the team has been given a mandate from the Minister of Education to double the number in the coming year.
“I am very pleased with this group, because we are actually changing attitudes. We are not just teaching about the maritime conscience. It is also about holistic development. You have to care about the environment, and we teach about the new and emerging opportunities,” he added.
He explained that the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based approach is being channelled through the CMMC as the university attempts to foster a shift in the teaching and learning methodologies for STEM.
“Right now, we are working with Women in Maritime Association of the Caribbean (WiMAC) to introduce technology programmes such as underwater robotics and the building of underwater drones, so they are doing exciting things. In allowing them to make things, we are transforming the minds of these youngsters and helping to make that shift,” Professor Pinnock said.
He informed that the young people are gravitating very quickly towards CMMC. “In fact, they are actually wearing our uniform. The only difference is the epaulette, so if and when they decide to come in to CMU, those who decide to will only need to change the epaulette, so it’s a great opportunity. We connect them with reality and introduce new options,” the President said.
He pointed out that being a part of the CMMC is not necessarily about attending the CMU eventually, but rather learning about the maritime environment, which, he said, is 20 times the land space of Jamaica.
“We have so many resources in our waters, and we have been doing an injustice to it through pollution,” he added.
Professor Pinnock commended the move by the Government to ban plastic bags and said that the university fully supports and endorses it. He added that the university is now putting the necessary measures in place to make it a zero-plastic environment.