The Ministry of National Security and Excelsior Community College today (August 13), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Bachelor of Science Programme in Business Administration.
This programme aims to educate, train and certify participants, so that they can compete at world-class standards.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Dianne McIntosh and Principal of the Community College, Philmore McCarthy, signed the MOU at the Ministry’s Oxford Road offices in St. Andrew.
Ms. McIntosh said the partnership between the Ministry and Excelsior Community College is a trailblazing experience in the creation of not just one but several opportunities in the pursuit of higher education.
She informed that an internal audit was conducted, which revealed that approximately 29 per cent of the Ministry’s staff members did not have the minimum qualification needed for the post they currently occupy.
“To successfully bridge the gap and move closer to this target [of transforming the Ministry], we became very interested in looking at programmes that would open up this opportunity to garner the requisite qualifications… to begin this agenda of transformation and change,” she said.
She pointed out that this led to the Ministry’s inaugural career development conference in March 2019.
The overall goal of the conference was to support the ongoing organisational transformation efforts by preparing employees at the levels for current and future roles in the newly restructured Ministry.
Arising from the conference, the Ministry partnered with the Community College to facilitate the Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. This commenced last year.
“Close to 100 of the Ministry’s staff members – the JCF, JDF and the Department of Correctional Services – have made an attempt at seizing that day by applying to enrol in this programme, and it is with pride that I really applaud the success of the 70 employees currently enrolled in the programme and are matriculating to their second year of study for both associate and bachelor of science degrees in business administration,” she said.
In addition, commencing in September 2020, Ms. McIntosh noted that the Ministry, in partnership with the Community College, will be introducing several new programmes to further boost the organisational capacity to support staff development within the Ministry, such as the online BSc. and the CSEC training for auxiliary staff, and other training programmes.
She said the pursuit of higher education epitomises a mechanised response to improving the Ministry’s capacity to respond to matters of national security while enhancing informed discussion on policies and matters of national interest.
“This will undoubtedly enable our sector to respond strategically [and] effectively to emerging threats to national security, in our quest to reduce major crimes and improve efficiencies,” she said.
In his remarks, Director of Workforce Development, Excelsior Community College, Duane Muirhead, said through the programme, the Community College is focused on goals one and three of Vision 2030 where Jamaicans are empowered to achieve their fullest potential and ensure that Jamaica’s economy is prosperous.
He said the upskilling programme is a strategy in ensuring that the Jamaican workforce, in particular the workers of the Ministry of National Security, are certified and prepared for their roles and functions.
“When this is achieved, it then impacts goal three – a prosperous Jamaican economy – as we will have an enabling business environment, one of the outcomes where workers’ productivity is increased, as they have the requisite skills for their portfolio area,” he argued.
He further noted that the upskilling programme has monitoring high on the agenda, so that problems are identified early and the necessary interventions put in place through ongoing academic counselling, so that no one is left behind.
Mr. Muirhead added too that the programme will be facilitated using a blended approach, that is, online and face-to-face classes.
“The new cohort schedule to start in the September 2020/21 academic year will be fully online and the offer is extended not only to staff of the Ministry, but also to their families and their dependents,” he said.
For his part, Mr. McCarthy informed that all the programmes are accredited.