Letter of the day: Merge MoBay Community College with Sam Sharpe Teachers' College
THE EDITOR, Sir:
This year marks 40 years since the founding of the Montego Bay Community College (MBCC) and the Sam Sharpe Teachers' College (SSTC), both in St James. In recognition thereof, both institutions should be merged, incorporating SSTC into MBCC as a new school of education.
Furthermore, faculties or schools should be revamped and added to facilitate MBCC's upgrading to university status as the University of Western Jamaica (UWJ).
To free up additional lands to facilitate the expansion of the new UWJ along Alice Eldemire Drive, the Ministry of Education's regional office should be relocated and Herbert Morrison Technical High School closed and relocated to the vacated SSTC facility in Granville as the Sam Sharpe Academy for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) for high-schoolers.
As proposed in this space before, the College of Agriculture, Science and Education in Portland should be upgraded and renamed the University of Eastern Jamaica, with a world-renowned faculty of agriculture being named in honour of the late Dr T.P. Lecky.
These institutions should be placed in private hands to the extent possible or through trusts with government assistance as we do in the secondary education system. The Government, under such a new regime, would provide special funding to local students to study particular disciplines necessary to advance our development.
There should be no second thought about providing the people of this country with as many outlets as possible to ensure we can have as highly educated a populace to allow us to truly realise First-World status, which, at this time, continues to be a mere pipe dream.
As a signatory to the World Trade Organisation General Agreement on Trade in Services, Jamaica should seek to better capitalise on the liberalisation of the tertiary education sector and create a niche market to attract students from places like the United States, where many students are being priced out of tertiary education, or the expense which leaves many seriously debt burdened for many years post-graduation.
Naturally, the curriculum offered at our universities must be one that is internationally recognised or US-sanctioned if it is to appeal to students from such places. Further consideration should be given to forging strategic alliances with the student-loan funders in places like the United States to better enable such students to fund their education in Jamaica.
KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER