JIS News

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said Jamaicans should prepare themselves to become victors and not victims of globalization and the Caribbean Single Market, by taking advantage of the various opportunities to educate themselves, including those offered through distance education.
She was speaking on Thursday (May 3) at the opening of an Educational Conference hosted jointly by the Council of Heads of Caribbean Hospitality Schools in Jamaica (CHOCHS) and the Western Hospitality Institute under theme, ‘Distance Education Breaking New Frontiers.’ Presenters at the conference included Dr. Roger Sublett, President of the Union Institute and University of which the Prime Minister is a graduate.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said distance education was one of the most pertinent topics in education today, breaking new frontiers and meeting the growing demand for education anywhere and anytime. She commended CHOCHS for demonstrating its commitment to education by examining innovative ways of opening up tertiary education to many Jamaicans who may be unable to gain access through traditional channels.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said the technological revolution and the Internet have increased the capacity, responsiveness and cost-effectiveness of education systems by transcending time and place, to reach groups with limited access to conventional education and training. She said more persons including the disadvantaged and those in rural communities now have a chance of becoming members of the knowledge society.
“You are pushing back the frontiers of learning, particularly for the adult working population,” the Prime Minister said.
She said the advances in distance learning education in Jamaica have been made possible through the dismantling of the monopolistic arrangements that existed within the telecommunications sector. The national programme for the development of the country’s information and communication technology systems has been wide-ranging and includes an e-government initiative to facilitate an integrated ICT environment.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said further, that the government’s commitment to expanding the country’s communications infrastructure has enabled educational institutions to use ICTs to deliver quality and cost-effective programmes to a growing number of Jamaicans. She said the future of distance education must include partnership and collaboration to facilitate greater sharing of expertise, material and other resources.
“We must seek to strengthen alliances between the public and private sector, international agencies and educational institutions with an understanding of the particular needs of small developing economies,” she stated.
She expressed the hope that the presentations at the conference would be instructive and inspiring, adding that she looked forward to the continued strengthening of the relationship between educational institutions in Jamaica and others overseas, such as the Union Institute and University.
She implored Jamaican students to take advantage of these opportunities, noting that education will empower a far greater number of people to contribute to development at the national and regional level.

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