Mico continuing to forge strong partnerships in its 180th year
In an effort to continue The Mico University College's contributions towards nation building, the institution's president, Dr Ashburn Pinnock, has announced that various collaborations have been, and are being, forged with the Jamaican and other governments to ensure better-quality teachers of science and mathematics.
The collaborations are also geared at preparing a consistent crop of qualified teachers, in other areas, for the export market.
During Mico's celebration of its 180th anniversary last Thursday at its Marescaux Road campus in Kingston, Pinnock boasted of the college's status of being the oldest teacher-training institution in the Western Hemisphere.
Mico was established in 1836.
"There is a shortage of math and science teachers and, therefore, Mico has been asked to lead the way in facilitating a scholarship programme to ensure that we train over 1,200 math and science teachers in the next six years," Pinnock said.
"We also partner with the University of the West Indies in seeking full scholarships for 100 math, chemistry, physics and geography lecturers in providing them with full master's degrees and training in coaching and research, so that they can be used to serve the island in professional development."
While he acknowledged the immediate need for more educators in specific subject areas, Pinnock said he observed that preparing more teachers for the international market would be a potential avenue for generating more foreign exchange.
"We are looking outward, as we have done in the past, and we were asked to partner with the Belizean government to train 500 early childhood education teachers, to satisfy their requirements in Belize," he said.
"We are engaging recruiters and universities overseas, to partner with them, to train teachers and to create opportunities for our students, that once they are trained at the Mico, they can walk into a British or an American classroom and take up full employment.
We have also engaged the Turks and Caicos government in trying to help them to develop and to replicate our CARE centre that we have here in Jamaica," Pinnock said, referring to the Child Assessment and Research in Education Centre that was established to satisfy the needs of children who require special education in the island.
"We understand that Jamaicans are all over the world, and we have been training for export for many, many years, and, therefore, we are making a conscious effort to regularise this process and to ensure it benefits us to the max," Pinnock said.
"We boast that remittance is our biggest foreign exchange earner, yet we want to hold (on to) those persons who we need to free to go and send those US dollars back to us; it is no longer a brain drain, it's a brain gain."
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