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Educational opportunities for the youths

Educational opportunities for the youths

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Up until early 2011, I had no idea that the SVG Community College was offering Associate Degree programs, and I have recently learned that they are currently negotiating with the University of Technology in Jamaica to offer Bachelor’s Degree programs in September.{{more}}

I have also realized that, like myself, there are a lot of people who are unaware of these additional educational opportunities. I met with Mr. Nigel Scott, Deputy Director of the Community College, to gather the necessary information and make it available, not only to students who are seeking options in academic advancement, but to the working class folks who wish to enhance their job performance.

In 2005, an Act was passed bringing four schools together under one umbrella, the SVG Community College. The board of directors took control in 2009 and began implementing the changes necessary to run these four schools as one educational institution. The School of Nursing became the Division of Nursing, the Technical College became the Division of Technical and Vocational Education, the Teachers’ College became the Division of Teacher Education, and the A-level College became the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies.

As separate institutions, the associate degree was only offered at the Technical College, to the Hospitality students, while the other students at the school procured a certificate. However, an assessment showed that the general level of education and work produced from the school was actually very high, so, using the University of the West Indies guidelines and a bit of tweaking, all the programs were upgraded to associate degree programs. One year certificates are still also offered for the Automotive and Refrigeration programs.

Presently the associate degree program at the Community College is accessible to anyone who has at least 5 CXC’s or GCE ‘O’ Level passes, including English A and Mathematics, and persons with relevant certificates from any notable institutions. Even without these requirements, people with relevant work experience may be considered for entry into the program. The Associate Degree program of the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies currently offers training in Psychology, Business Studies, Paralegal Studies and Information Technology. In order to make allowances for individuals who work, the program is structured so all classes are at evenings, after normal working hours.

The program costs $150 EC per course, plus a registration fee of $200 EC. It lasts a period of two years and consists of a mixture of General Education and Core and Elective courses.

While these associate degree programs are not accredited, they were developed using the University of the West Indies guidelines and may provide more flexibility and advantages for some students than A-Levels or CAPE. The associate degree program is more widely recognized in American schools; it also provides easy matriculation for students into 3 year programs at universities and also advanced placement, which allow students to commence university studies at the 2nd year level and sometimes gives them the opportunity to take a year off or be exempted from certain courses.

The Bachelor’s Degree program commencing in September offers training in four disciplines: Business, Information Technology, Mechanical Technology, Electrical technology and Nursing Education. These areas were chosen based on the needs of the country, as shown by labour market surveys and poverty assessments.

The University of Technology will send a team at the end of March to do an on-the-ground assessment and meet with Ministry of Education officials, the academic staff, administration and technology staff of the Community College, and other stakeholders. They will also visit the facilities at all divisions, including the classrooms, laboratories and libraries, to ensure that the appropriate structure is in place. They will also be reviewing documents such as exam scripts and student projects to ensure that the quality of their degree would not be compromised. At the end of the Bachelor’s degree program, participants will receive a University of Technology degree, a degree accredited by the University Council of Jamaica, one of the oldest accreditation bodies in the Caribbean. The degree will cost an annual registration fee of $200 EC and a tuition fee of $200 EC per course. Students will also be required to pay a franchise fee to the University of Technology.

Scott said this fee has not yet been agreed, but it will be affordable.

These are both excellent options, both for young students and older persons, for whom such opportunities were not available. Now you have little to no excuse for academic advancement. Take the chance and good luck to you!

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~ Nelson Mandela

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” ~ Malcolm X

“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.” ~ Aristotle

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