JIS News

Come September 2004, the School of Visual Arts of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts will for the first time be able to award degrees in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in fine and applied art and Art Education (BAE).
The programme, which has been approved by the University Council of Jamaica, marks a significant development in the study of Art in Jamaica and the Caribbean, as students will now be able to pursue visual art and applied art bachelor degrees in the island instead of going abroad.
Principal of the institution, Burchell Duhaney, while speaking at the press conference held to mark the launch of the degree programmes on Wednesday (January 4), said the occasion which has been a longtime in coming was a historical one for Jamaicans as well as the Caribbean. He noted that the event was significant to the institution, which has been mandated to direct the process of education and training in the fields of art and culture.
“We must now endeavour that all the areas of the arts move to this level so that our people only by choice go to North America or Europe to access higher level training in the Arts,” Mr. Duhaney charged.
He told JIS News that the institution currently enrolled 900 students full and part-time and with the change in status there was an expected 20 per cent increase in the number for this year and 30 per cent for the 2005 academic year. He noted, however, that although the college wanted ‘maximum enrollment’ they had no wish to be ‘oversubscribed’ as they are now hemmed in where physical space is concerned.
Mr. Duhaney divulged that there were plans to acquire lands to have the facility expanded. He said further developments had seen the college board approving the establishing of a foundation whereby the college could raise funds more aggressively both locally and internationally.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Jeffrey Cobham pointed out that the change in status would make the college more attractive to international and regional students as presently this number had dwindled over the years.
Dr. Phylicia Marshall, Senior Education Officer in the tertiary unit of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, speaking on behalf of the Education Minister, said the change came at a time when there was increased emphasis on lifelong learning and the importance of higher education to economic development.
She noted that the bachelor degree programme would serve to increase the countries competitive edge in the fine arts and was a timely one helping to fulfill part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) agreement, which is to have 15 per cent enrollment rate in tertiary education by 2005. Furthermore, Dr. Marshall said the alliance with the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) was in keeping with the Ministry’s mandate for tertiary level institutions.
Executive Director of the University Council of Jamaica, Dr. Ethley London in outlining the approval process said it was a rigourous one with the first submission being made from 1999. She noted that the approval process was lengthy but necessary as it was important that the UCJ’s standards, including the appropriate physical and social infrastructure, plans for the sustainability and structure of the programme as well as the curriculum, methods of assessment and the programmes utility in achieving national objectives be met before accreditation was given.
As a result there was considerable upgrading to the institution’s library as well as the computer facilities, which is still ongoing. Staff upgrading is also still in progress.
The BFA and BAE degree programmes will be available to students who have obtained at least five subjects in the Caribbean Examination Council exams (CXC) with minimum passes of one two or three and must include English language and Art at a cost of approximately $150,000.
Courses for the BFA include courses in painting, sculpture, printmaking, jewelry, textiles, fiber arts, ceramics and graphic design, whilst the BAE, will be awarded to students of Art education upon completion of the approved course of study.
The application period for the degree programme will be between January and March 31, 2004. The programme will produce its first set of graduates in 2008. Degrees, which are recognized and accredited by the UCJ, are recognized nationally, regionally and internationally.

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