Gov’t Focused on Expanding Tertiary Education

The Education and Youth Ministry is placing focus on expanding the tertiary education sector with options for students to access financing.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, told JIS News that the objective is to ensure that a “higher percentage of our population is educated at higher levels”.

She said statistics indicate that enrolment of students in tertiary institutions remains low relative to those who graduate from secondary school.

“We know that the limiting factor is generally financing, so we have earnestly worked, all during last year, to look at a higher education policy and look at what kind of ideas we can come forward with on financing,” she said.

Minister Williams was speaking to JIS News after addressing an Interfaith Convocation Service at the University Chapel in St. Andrew on Sunday (December 8), to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of UWI, Mona, Professor Dale Webber said the university, across its five campuses, is working to introduce shorter course options that will cater to students who have to work while pursuing tertiary studies.

“You can also do a one-year diploma or certificate [and] we’re now getting into even shorter courses for three [or] six weeks. They (courses) are all going to be put together in a way where we can determine what we call ‘laddering’. So [a student will do] a bit now, go back to work, do another little bit, go back to work, and you can ladder into a programme,” he explained.

Professor Webber said that the 75th anniversary provides an opportunity to further grow the institution.

“We’re aligning our research with what society needs, and we are being more agile in making it possible, within a shorter time, to reach places that we’ve never gone before. We look forward to sharing with all of Jamaica, the Caribbean, and the world,” he said.

University Registrar and Chief Administrative Officer, Dr. Maurice Smith, informed that several activities are slated to take place in each region to celebrate the institution’s 75th anniversary.

“We have academic conferences, lectures, parties, galas, talent shows [and] we have features to celebrate those awesome members of staff, who have been working across universities,” he noted

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