Some 24 experts in the local financial sector have been awarded post-graduate certification in financial services management, following their completion of a 14-month course via the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) e-Learning Campus.
The course, which lasted from September 2010 to November 2011, covers a range of topics in the field of financial services, including risk management, global capital markets and tools, financial planning and wealth management, strategic portfolio management, and international bond and debt issues.
A graduation ceremony was held at the Wyndham Hotel in New Kingston on May 22, to recognise the achievements of the participants, who represented the first cohort of the JSE e-Learning campus.
Ten of the participants were awarded post-graduate diplomas after successfully completing all the modules of the course, while eight were granted post-graduate certificates for completing the first module, and the remaining six were honoured with certificates of completion.
Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, who was guest speaker at the function, congratulated the graduates on their achievement, while encouraging them to continue along the path of higher learning.
“I trust that all the courses taken will accumulate as credits for some greater degree that will be awarded to you at some stage. I’m sure that each one of you will want to go on and achieve further qualifications,” he said.
Rev. Thwaites said he is also “enthused” by the programme of e-Learning that the participants had engaged in, noting that it reflects a positive transformation of education in Jamaica. “This is exactly what we need,” he said.
The Minister noted that Jamaica’s education system continues to grow and develop, and has “come a far way” over the years. He pointed out that the country now has between 15 to 17 accredited institutions of higher learning and over 50 certifiable programmes within that matrix.
“The JSE e-Learning programme should be added to that shortly, and we want more of this, as we try to go beyond one third of the cohort that is eligible for higher education,” he added.
In the meantime, General Manager, JSE, Marlene Street Forrest, said the course represented a major step towards enabling continuing education in the financial services sector.
She said the graduation exercise and the achievements of the graduates are significant in the history of the JSE, as they represent the first batch of industry professionals in the post graduate diploma course in financial services management offered by the agency.
“It has been a long and hard journey, but we believe that we have certainly achieved what we have set out to achieve, which is helping our industry professionals get on top of their game and using the technology driven e-learning programme to do so,” she said.
“We know that it has been difficult, but we want you (graduates) to know that the struggles of balancing career with studies, and navigating through a new programme will be well worth it in the end, not only for you, but the market, and by extension, Jamaica,” Mrs. Street Forrest added.
Meanwhile, Administrator, JSE e-Campus, Yvonne Nicholson, said the courses offered by the JSE e-learning programme are expected to be endorsed by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) by mid 2012.
She noted that recently, e-Campus also signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and the Mico University College, with a view to providing additional content and sharing resources.
Mrs. Nicholson said the aim of the institution is to become the premier provider of continuing professional education training for the financial services sector.
“There are currently 3,850 graduates from the securities course offered by the University of Technology (UTech). Assuming that 30 per cent of these graduates are still in the market and wish to pursue higher level programme, we’re looking to satisfy the needs of approximately 1,347 students or 35 per cent of the population over the next five years,” the JSE Administrator pointed out.
The JSE e-learning campus, which was launched in September 2010, offers a series of certificate courses grouped in module form. The courses, which are accessed online, allow for remote access throughout the Caribbean and for flexible study hours for employed participants.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter