UTech and RADA Sign MOU to Deliver Master’s Programme in Rural Development

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Peter Thompson (left), and President of the University of Technology (UTech), Professor Stephen Vasciannie, sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to deliver a postgraduate programme in rural development, at the institution’s Old Hope Road offices in St. Andrew on July 11.

Story Highlights

  • The University of Technology (UTech) and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to deliver a postgraduate degree programme geared towards the economic development of rural communities.
  • Among the objectives of the programme is to promote rural entrepreneurship as the engine of growth, as well as to increase the knowledge and technical skills of persons working in public and private sectors in areas that are intricately linked to rural development.
  • At the signing ceremony held at UTech’s Old Hope Road campus in St. Andrew on July 11, RADA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Peter Thompson, said the programme of study will find practical solutions to challenges impacting rural communities.

The University of Technology (UTech) and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to deliver a postgraduate degree programme geared towards the economic development of rural communities.

The Master of Science in Integrated Rural Development is expected to begin next year and is currently being developed by the Faculty of the Built Environment (FOBE) at UTech, to be officially authorised by the university’s academic board.

Among the objectives of the programme is to promote rural entrepreneurship as the engine of growth, as well as to increase the knowledge and technical skills of persons working in public and private sectors in areas that are intricately linked to rural development.

Both entities are collaborating to tap into the potential of rural communities for national development, as these areas remain largely unexploited across the Caribbean region.

At the signing ceremony held at UTech’s Old Hope Road campus in St. Andrew on July 11, RADA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Peter Thompson, said the programme of study will find practical solutions to challenges impacting rural communities.

Mr. Thompson also expects that capacity-building and knowledge-sharing will be derived from the partnership, as well as the exploration of other areas of cooperation, such as the release of joint publications.

“We expect other universities to come on board, be it local or international, to solve some of the problems we have in rural communities,” he noted.

UTech’s President, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, in his remarks said the Master of Science programme will provide tertiary-level training in support of rural development.

“UTech shares unequivocally in the Government of Jamaica’s thrust to focus on strategies to significantly develop the country’s rural communities,” he said.

He noted that rural areas are economic drivers for development in the country, particularly in the areas of tourism, sports, and agriculture and fisheries.

For his part, Associate Professor of FOBE, Dr. Amani Ishemo, said the programme will be offered over 18 months.

He noted that there is an overwhelming view from the stakeholders that the course should be “practical, technically oriented and current”.

It is expected that between 15 and 20 local students will be among the first batch of participants, with plans for the involvement of students from the wider Caribbean as the programme progresses.

“We believe that this programme will enhance national development, while at the same time promote RADA and UTech. This kind of rural development education will contribute significantly to the ambition, which Jamaica is undertaking, particularly Vision 2030 and also the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Dr. Ishemo informed that a rural development centre will also be developed.

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