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The Ministry of Education and Youth is proposing the establishment of a tertiary commission, which would have responsibility for planning for the sector.
The Education Minister, Maxine Henry Wilson, who made the announcement as she addressed the opening of the University of the West Indies’ research day today (Jan. 25), said the idea of creating a tertiary commission came out of the task force on education report, which pointed to the need for more effective use of resources in the sector.
“At the moment, the analysis shows that there is not sufficient articulation between institutions and also that there is a lot of duplication and therefore not effective use of resources,” informed the Minister.
The commission, she said, would also have responsibility for conducting research, which would inform planning in the sector. “We do not have an up-to-date labour market research and this has hampered the development and planning of the tertiary sector, and this therefore has to be given some priority,” she stated.
In addition, the Education Minister said, “we have to develop database of international qualifications and establish equivalencies, as that is the way the modern world is going, as students should be able to move from one institution to the other. from a local institution to a regional or to an international institution and evaluate the performances of our institutions”.
The Minister noted that it was not envisaged that the tertiary commission will replace the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ), which would continue to carry out its mandate of registering, monitoring and setting standards for the sector.
The UCJ monitors 47 degree programmes, which have been accredited in 17 institutions locally.
The two-day research day, which is being held under the theme: ‘Higher Education: Pathway to Success,’ features an exhibition at the Assembly Hall, which showcases research conducted by the University.
Principal and Pro Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Elsa Leo Rhynie, said that the institution considered research day “a most significant event on the university’s calendar, and is happy to share with its stakeholders and the community, its research activities and achievements”.
“Research day has been a fixture since 1998 and the primary goal has been the showcasing of the campus’ research work and demonstrating its commitment to providing relevant and innovative responses and solutions to national and regional issues,” said the principal.