Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Grace McLean, has challenged tertiary level stakeholders to take on a more competitive business approach, noting that the challenges of the educational landscape requires bold action by all involved.
"Education as a whole has evolved and has transcended beyond our borders. It therefore means that we have to become more decisive in our actions. It is absolutely imperative that we make our tertiary institutions the place of choice with which our students will want to identify," she stated.
Mrs. McLean was addressing the opening ceremony of the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica's (CCCJ) 2012 Conference and 10th anniversary celebrations on Wednesday (Jan. 4) at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in St. James. The three days of activities are being held under the theme: 'New realities, new challenges: A call for bold action'.
The Acting Permanent Secretary, in her address, noted that tertiary education remained critical for human development and economic and social growth.
She commended the CCCJ for its pivotal role in widening access to higher level education in the country, and expressed confidence that the colleges supervised and coordinated by the Council will continue to maintain the highest standards of professional and academic excellence in the training and development of professionals.
Chairman of the CCCJ, Jeanette Grant-Woodham, in her remarks, also highlighted the important role of tertiary institutions in human resources development and the advancement of the country.
"Tertiary education institutions such as community colleges have a critical role to play in supporting knowledge-driven economical growth strategies and the construction of democratic socially cohesive societies. Tertiary education assists the improvement of the institutional regime, through the training of competent and responsible professionals needed for sound macro-economic and public sector management,” she stated.
She expressed the hope that "this conference will direct a paradigm shift in the business of education and begin to expose new horizons of thought and action. May this coming together allow meetings of the minds, so that tertiary education in Jamaica and the community colleges in particular, will begin to chart a path for the transformation of the sector in general," the CCCJ Chairman said.
Several national and international presenters are scheduled to speaks on topics such as: 'Internationalization of the campuses- a survival strategy’; ‘Student success in the 21st Century’; 'Academics – publish or perish’; 'Increasing access to education and training: Creating partnership and funding opportunities'; 'Community education- educating the person to include civic responsibility'; and 'Sustaining the environment- greening of the college.'