JIS News

A campus of the Montego Bay Community College in St. James has been officially opened in Westmoreland on the former grounds of the Frome Technical High School, which has been relocated.
Although the Frome campus has been in operation since 2004, the ceremony to mark its official opening was held on Wednesday, September 6. The institution began with approximately 113 students in September 2004, and now has a student population of approximately 250.
Giving the keynote address at the ceremony, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Senator Noel Monteith, said the community college has evolved from being an institution offering sixth form tutoring serving three high schools, to a tertiary institution serving students in five parishes, inclusive of Westmoreland.
He emphasized that education was one of the main keys to human and economic development, and that the history of the institution was intimately connected with the social and economic development of the entire country.
Senator Monteith explained that within the Ministry of Education and Youth, moves were afoot to develop and structure programmes in the education sector, to build the type of human resources needed for the Jamaican economy, bearing in mind the free movement of people, and labour migration regionally and internationally.
“Through the education transformation process, we have been making a conscious effort to fashion new attitudes toward the educational process, its purpose and possible benefits,” he said.
He outlined that the mandate of the Ministry towards tertiary institutions, as prescribed by the National Task Force on Education, was to provide strategic direction and structure to that sector, through the establishment of a viable Tertiary Commission.
“This commission will govern the development and implementation of policy at the macro level, and co-ordinate quality assurance and accreditation of all institutions, articulation between institutions, and tertiary financing,” he added.
The State Minister said that there was a draft frame-work in place for a strategic plan for tertiary education.
“This plan addresses the upgrading and repositioning of tertiary institutions to offer relevant programmes that will sustain the demands of a knowledge based economy. It addresses the strengthening of technology in instruction and management in the tertiary sector, and also the strengthening and harmonization of an articulation system for persons to move between institutions nationally, regionally and internationally,” he pointed out.
Senator Monteith said that the final draft of the strategic plan should be submitted before the end of this month, adding that a consultative approach has been adopted towards the compilation of the plan, to ensure that upon completion, all stakeholders would have an input in its development.
Member of Parliament for Central Westmoreland, Dr. Carl Blythe, and Mayor of Savanna -la-Mar, Councillor Delford Morgan, lauded the move to establish the campus in Westmoreland.

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