Community Colleges Receive Support to Strengthen Technical Education

Photo: Rudranath Fraser State Minister in the Education, Youth and Information Ministry, Hon. Floyd Green (right), makes a point to Director in the Office of Citizen Security at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Jamaica, Andrew Colburn. Looking on (at centre) is Family Health International (FHI) 360 Country Programme Director, Ruth Chisholm. Occasion was a function at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on June 26 to announce an agreement between the FHI 360 and the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ), which will see community colleges benefiting from support to strengthen the delivery of technical-education programmes.

Story Highlights

  • The island’s community colleges will receive support to strengthen the delivery of technical education programmes and to provide market-relevant, quality training to disadvantaged youth, under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Family Health International (FHI) 360 and the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ).
  • The agreement will result in the institutions adopting FHI 360’s Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Regional Workforce Programme, dubbed Advance, which will see them benefiting from improved curriculum design and pedagogy, professional development opportunities for faculty and staff, and enhanced labour market-bridging services to help students find gainful employment after graduating.
  • The programme, which will also be available to Guatemala and Honduras, is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), at an overall cost of US$35 million.

The island’s community colleges will receive support to strengthen the delivery of technical education programmes and to provide market-relevant, quality training to disadvantaged youth, under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Family Health International (FHI) 360 and the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ).

The agreement will result in the institutions adopting FHI 360’s Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Regional Workforce Programme, dubbed Advance, which will see them benefiting from improved curriculum design and pedagogy, professional development opportunities for faculty and staff, and enhanced labour market-bridging services to help students find gainful employment after graduating.

Among the targeted areas of training are agribusiness, the creative industries and tourism.

Disadvantaged students’ access to selected technical education programmes will also be improved through the provision of scholarships and the strengthening of the institutions’ recruitment and admissions practices.

The programme, which will also be available to Guatemala and Honduras, is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), at an overall cost of US$35 million.

Welcoming the programme, State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green. said it “aligns perfectly with all we’re trying to do in Government”.

“We’re trying to bring sharp focus to the issue of technical education. We see it as a necessary part of our training module,” he said at a function to announce the programme, at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on June 26.

Mr. Green informed that it is important to change the thinking that technical, vocational, education and training (TVET) is a remedial course of study, noting that “it is not a second chance training module”.

“People believe that if you are doing technical studies, it must be because you are unable to do anything else. That is not the way of the world now,” he said, pointing out that modern society now requires more technical skills.

Mr. Green lauded the community colleges for being the first tertiary institutions to adopt the Advance programme, noting that the high-quality training will be accessible by most Jamaicans, particularly those in rural areas.

CCCJ Executive Director, Dr. Donna Powell-Wilson, expressed elation at the partnership with FHI 360.

She said the relationship is timely, as the entities “work to strengthen the cause of educational opportunities for Jamaicans from all walks of life, in particular disadvantaged youth”.

In his remarks, Director in the Office of Citizen Security at the USAID in Jamaica, Andrew Colburn, said the Advance Programme is one that his agency believes in, expressing confidence that it will work to strengthen education in Jamaica.

FHI 360 Country Programme Director, Ruth Chisholm, for her part, informed that dialogue has been initiated with the University of Technology (UTech) and the Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI) for adoption of the programme, noting that the talks will be finalised in the coming weeks.

She informed that the Advance Programme is expected to last until the year 2020.

FHI 360 is a non-profit human development organisation dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by providing integrated, locally driven solutions.

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