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  • The Jamaican Council for Adult Education (JACAE) is impacting the teaching techniques of those who deliver adult education at a variety of levels, through its alliance with the 125-year-old Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Canada. 
  • Coordinator of the programme, Una Kettle, tells JIS News that the alliance, which is entering its fifth year, facilitates the delivery of two postgraduate degrees to Jamaican adult educators, through multi-instructional techniques.
  • The degrees are a Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Master of Arts in Education (MA. Ed).

The Jamaican Council for Adult Education (JACAE) is impacting the teaching techniques of those who deliver adult education at a variety of levels, through its alliance with the 125-year-old Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Canada.

Coordinator of the programme, Una Kettle, tells JIS News that the alliance, which is entering its fifth year, facilitates the delivery of two postgraduate degrees to Jamaican adult educators, through multi-instructional techniques.

The degrees are a Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Master of Arts in Education (MA. Ed).

The programme design allows students to complete their degree while continuing to work and reside in Jamaica.

The students, who take advantage of this opportunity for further education, come from a variety of different backgrounds. These include community college educators, health care professionals, literacy workers, human resource development managers, and public/private schoolteachers and administrators.

The programme is delivered through lectures from Mount St. Vincent’s visiting lecturers, all of whom hold doctorate degrees, as well as interactive sessions.

All texts and reading materials are sent to the students and the course material is provided on-line. Teleconferencing, which is featured as one component of this distance education programme, is to be reintroduced in the future.

Additionally, course participants must attend a summer session in Canada, and complete a practicum locally.

The Master’s degrees cover a range of topics, including Adult Education Methods, Creating the Educative workplace, and Programme Design in Adult Education, which embraces an intensive look at several models including the humanist and critical models for designing educational programmes for adults in a variety of settings.

One beneficiary of the programme is a former teacher of 19 years, Alsian Brown-Perry, who first heard of the programme, when it started in 1998. At that time, she was teaching Biology as well as conducting Biology workshops on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, for the teachers of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

Since receiving her degree from Mount St. Vincent University, Mrs. Brown-Perry has continued to serve as an educator, moving from teaching in a high school, to serving at the Human Employment and Resource Training Agency (HEART), to her present position of Assistant Registrar for Syllabus Development at CXC.

Mrs. Brown-Perry has high praises for the programme, explaining that even before completing the course, she realized that her method of imparting information to other teachers could be improved.

“You have to learn how adults learn,” she stresses, indicating that adults learn differently from children. “They’re [adults] more autonomous,” she says, contrasting adults and children learners. “You [the teacher] are a facilitator,” she notes adding, “I learnt adult methods. “Commenting on the delivery of the courses, Mrs. Brown-Perry says it was of a high standard, with very supportive lecturers. “I was also forced to learn to use the computer, because I had to learn to access the course on-line.”For her, the most exciting part of the course was going to Canada to do a one-credit course. “I met with them [instructors and Canadian students] in East Canada in Cape Bretton…it was very eye opening.” “The second year,” she continues, “the Canadian students came to Jamaica for the summer workshop. It was great.” “I know I came out better for it,” she says.Although a non-governmental organisation, the JACAE and the Ministry of Education, Youth & Culture, are at one in their overarching objective to promote lifelong learning.

Chief Education Officer, Wesley Barrett says that the Ministry supports the formation and development of JACAE.

Further, the Jamaican Council for Adult Education enjoys a number of international affiliations, being a member of the Caribbean Regional Council for Adult Education (CARCAE) and the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE).

Established in 1973, the ICAE is a global partnership of adult learners and adult educators, and others who promote the use of adult learning, as a tool for informed participation of people and by extension sustainable development. CARCAE, Mrs. Kettle explains, is the regional body that serves 19 countries in the Dutch, English, French and Papiamento-speaking Caribbean. Papiamento is spoken in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

The parent body, ICAE, represents over 100 autonomous adult education institutions internationally. Through its regional affiliation, JACAE also works with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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