JIS News

MONTEGO BAY – Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, says that discussions continue with the private financial institutions towards a workable solution for the financing of the Student Loan Bureau (SLB).

He was speaking at the official opening of the 12th Annual Conference of the Association of Caribbean Higher Education Administrators held on July 11, at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay.

Mr. Thwaites said the talks to date have focused on how private capital could supplement state funding to the bureau, to enhance loan provisions for tertiary-level students.

He said that while there seems to be an apparent “rigidity” on the part of the financial sector to give their blessings to such an arrangement, “discussions will nonetheless proceed with great optimism and anticipation”.

The Education Minister said that despite the challenges, the Government is determined to meet its target of providing access to tertiary education for 50 per cent of the age cohort by 2015, in keeping with Vision 2030 Jamaica, the national development plan.

“We do not have to go over the great significance and irrefutable importance of extending tertiary education in the Caribbean. The task (may) look difficult… but we cannot resile from the importance of doing so,” he stated.

He said that in extending access, the state will ensure that quality is not comprised, noting that the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (JTEC) and the University College of Jamaica are charged with establishing standard-driven regulations, oversight and quality assurance for the sector.