Knockalva Agricultural School now a polytechnic college
The Knockalva Agricultural School is now a polytechnic college, providing greater access to tertiary education for persons in western Jamaica.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Ruel Reid noted that the rebranded institution, located in Hanover, will bring tertiary studies to the doorsteps of residents of the parish in addition to St James and Westmoreland.
"We cannot have all our colleges and universities in Kingston and St Andrew. We don't have enough space, and more so, education and training systems are changing so rapidly that even in your living room, you can access certain programmes. So we have to bring education and training as close to our people as possible," said Reid.
He was speaking at a ceremony to officially launch the 2018-2019 school year and mark the new Knockalva Polytechnic College on Thursday on the grounds of the institution in Ramble.
The ceremony included the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Knockalva and several institutions - Caribbean Maritime University; the College of Agriculture, Science and Education; the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts; The Mico University College; and the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport - for the provision of tertiary qualifications.
Earlier this year, the education minister said that the institution "fits very neatly in our K (kindergarten) to 18 strategy".
"It is now viewed as a post-secondary [institution], and it needs to be reclassified and upgraded to become a full polytechnic as we have done with the Trench Town Polytechnic. That will attract tertiary-level programmes so that the students can achieve better certification and be better aligned to industry," he further pointed out.
The official launch of the school year was held under the theme 'Ramp It Up or Fix it Up; K to 13 ... An Inclusive Education System'.
Reid lauded the collaboration between the ministries of transport and mining and labour and social security to implement the rural bus system in 12 parishes.
The bus system is intended to provide affordable transportation for students and improve school attendance in rural areas.