Wife of the Governor-General, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen, has called for exploration of creative solutions to determine how higher education could be funded, in light of the global economic challenges.
“I believe the solutions to recession proofing tertiary education lie in new, creative and non-traditional modes of delivering and financing education,” Lady Allen told a symposium organised by Versan Educational Services Limited, at the Girl’s Guide Association of Jamaica headquarters, Waterloo Road, in Kingston on Friday (September 17).
Versan was supported by First Caribbean Bank and Wisynco in hosting the seminar, representing the collaboration of financers, service providers and end users of the products of tertiary education under the theme ‘Recession Proofing Tertiary Education’.
Lady Allen pointed out that education was no longer limited to face-to-face sessions and lectures in a classroom or lecture hall, but involved computers and other digital technologies, which have dramatically changed the landscape.
“The reality is that information technology has brought unprecedented changes to the way we communicate, learn and transmit social and cultural values,” she said, pointing out that it has ushered in a new generation of students requiring non-traditional means of teaching.
Wife of the Governor-General, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen (left) in discussion with Versan Educational Services Limited’s General Manager, Kris-Anne Steele (right) and Executive Director, Sandra Bramwell-Riley, during a symposium on ‘Recession Proofing Tertiary Education’ staged by the firm at the Girl’s Guide Association of Jamaica’s headquarters in Kingston on Friday (September 17).
“The University of the West Indies now offers courses through its open campus, connecting students across the Caribbean with tutors and lecturers in other countries,” she cited.
She noted that during the recent unrest in sections of West Kingston, when schools were closed, a Kingston high school was able to continue lessons via the computer.
She pointed out that in the United States, colleges and universities are experiencing budget cuts and a decline in endowments, forcing them to increase tuition and reduce non-tenured staff: Less expensive colleges have become innovative in handling the increased student load, while promoting online courses and scheduling classes at non-traditional times.
She encouraged Jamaican students planning to study overseas to endeavour to make excellent grades to attract scholarships, noting that many individuals who have had the privilege to study abroad did so because of scholarships.
“The rapidly expanding information highway holds the prospects of delivering affordable tertiary education to large numbers of our citizens. If correctly designed and applied, technology advances will allow Jamaican tertiary institutions, their students and graduates to effectively compete within the global marketplace,” she said.
She stated that education must also make students productive citizens, trained to perform their duties and responsibilities with tenacity, pride and excellence.
“Whatever your profession or vocation, education should help to create the framework in which individuals can learn to embrace values that contribute to the development of a just society, and positively redefine and improve our Jamaican identity,” she added.