KINGSTON — The University of the West Indies (UWI, Mona Campus) and the HEART Trust/National Training Agency (NTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) deepening their partnership in educational and other areas of development, on Tuesday (October 25).
Under the MoU, signed by UWI Principal, Professor Gordon Shirley, and HEART Trust Executive Director, Dr. Carolyn Hayle, HEART/NTA will provide internship spaces for university students in their colleges and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes; access to HEART incubator facilities for UWI graduates interested in entrepreneurship; and expose UWI lecturers to the competency-based education training methodology.
In return, the UWI will matriculate HEART graduates who possess Associate Degrees, consistent with the university’s rules and policy.
HEART/NTA signed a similar MOU with the University of Technology (UTech) in July, to facilitate HEART trainees matriculating to UTech, and UTech students being able to get certification in a number of areas from HEART, even after graduation.
Speaking at the brief signing ceremony, Professor Shirley, pointed to several areas which both institutions have either jointly embarked on in recent years, or have undertaken work individually. These include agriculture, food processing, hospitality and tourism and entrepreneurship
“We think that these two organizations, HEART Trust and UWI, have had, for a long time, an emphasis on education and training, and have always felt, jointly, that these are the underpinning of the development of our country,” he said.
He noted that the MoU signalled both institutions’ intent to collaborate more closely. He explained that the UWI hopes to have its students interned in various HEART programmes, while HEART students matriculate into the university’s programmes.
“We hope to have a number of joint conferences in the areas of emphasis, and we hope to mount a number of joint projects in these and other areas,” Professor Shirley stated.
Dr. Hayle highlighted the significance of the collaboration, and underscored the importance of developing the nation’s human resource capacity, citing that the MoU will emphasize the importance of the national training component of the HEART Trust.
“In recent weeks, an investor came to Jamaica and was enamoured and intrigued by the fact that, we were able to show how many people in Jamaica were actually qualified in a particular area that they are interested in. By that, I mean we were able to show them qualifications, in terms of degrees and certification, (also) in terms of skills training,” she stated.
“And so, it’s important that we underpin that both things go together, in order to attract inward investment into the country. We (HEART and UWI) have done a lot of work in the past, and we are going to deepen it,” she pointed out.
She said that the provisions will facilitate smooth transition from informal education, through post-secondary education to tertiary education.
“There is (now) no reason that people cannot get a university education. You can do it at your own pace, on your own time, as long as you abide by the rules of the institutions,” Dr. Hayle declared.
By Douglas Mcintosh , JIS Reporter