Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the Government will be working with tertiary institutions to which it provides funding, to ensure that their programmes are most geared towards the evolving Jamaican economy.
Speaking at a post-Sectoral Debate press briefing at Jamaica House, on Thursday, May 16, Minister Thwaites explained that he and other officials of the Ministry had met with the Heads of the University of Technology (UTech) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), to have dialogue on which programmes are of particular relevance, not just for the sector, but to the workforce.
“We (said) these are the ones that we are expecting you to carry out, and for which we are able to direct the levels of funding that have been prepared. There are some issues that we in education have to ask our universities to assist with,” he stated.
Citing examples of how the various disciplines can target areas that affect the overall society and economy, the Minister said the UWI has been asked to bring together the competencies to provide guidance on how to deal with the chronic underperformance of boys in the education system.
Meanwhile, he emphasised that UTech has an important focused role in helping the Ministry to articulate technical and vocational education, into the school system.
“The students will have much wider and much more applicable career choices (and) when they get to UTech, they will have a far better foundation, and the likelihood is that when they graduate from there, they will have a much higher level of competence to serve industry and to start their own businesses,” the Minister explained.
Rev. Thwaites stressed that he is not suggesting that other programmes of study be diminished.
“The Government’s support for UWI and UTech is only a part of their revenue…we are not devaluing any element of education. All we are saying is please show us how you are using the money that the taxpayer is putting in, for purposes that offer focused value added to the people of Jamaica,” the Minister said.
Contact: Alphea Saunders