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Rural Express:G.C. Foster, Catholic College partner to advance offerings

Published:Saturday | November 29, 2014 | 12:00 AM
President of G.C. Foster College Dr Joyce Royal fits a school shirt on president of CCM, Una O'Connor, as the two exchange shirts.
Former President CCM, Sister Una O'Connor (left), and president of G.C. Foster College, Dr Joyce Royal, sign the MOU signalling the partnership between the schools. Looking on is mayor of Mandeville, Brenda Ramsay.-photos by Tamara Bailey

Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer

Williamsfield, Manchester:In an effort to meet the demands of the workforce, there has been a significant increase in the diversity of courses offered at various institutions.

Catholic College of Mandeville (CCM), widely known for teacher-training and the G.C. Foster College, responsible for the success of those scattered in the field of physical fitness and sport, has embarked on a partnership to offer a diploma in coaching and sports massage therapy.

The official signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) took place on the grounds of CCM at a ceremony in the presence of several stakeholders and members of the sporting fraternity on Friday, November 14. This ceremony also saw the grand opening of a new science lab and the official announcement of a new associate degree in agriculture.

According to the registrar at CCM, Dr Paul Thompson, the institution now not only wants to be just a teacher-training college, but one offering many disciplines.

"The launch today of our two new programmes - the associate of science in agriculture, which has already started and will seek to have students after two years moving on to a Bachelor of Science in agriculture; and the diploma in coaching and sports massage therapy, which will start in January - will see an influx of coordinators teaching special courses such as chemistry and zoology, while for advanced sporting classes, coaches from the G.C. Foster College will come down to teach those."


He added, "Now, what we are hoping is that this science lab will provide opportunities for both the agriculture students and the sporting students. It will also be used for the other teacher-education programmes because up until now, we have never had a science lab because of the space limitations at our former location."

The lab, built at a cost of about US$100,000, was made possible through a donation sourced by the Roman Catholic Diocese and will be named after recently retired president Una O'Connor. The remainder of the funds acquired was used to provide scholarships valued at J$150,000 each to 10 students of CCM to pursue the associate of science degree in agriculture.

With more than 500 students enrolled and the move to a larger campus space just over two years ago, board chairman of CCM Marcia Tai Chun is pleased with the direction the school is heading into.

"In 1992, the college was founded with three students, and Sister Una O'Connor worked on the fulfilment of the vision to provide excellent, affordable education at the tertiary level. Twenty-two years later is a reason to be proud of the achievements of this college ... the world of tertiary education in Jamaica has gone under significant growth in the last few years ... a teaching career continues to be a special calling, and we will continue to make strides in those programme offerings. But, we must introduce new programmes through internal development and through partnerships with institutions of note."

Mayor of Mandeville Brenda Ramsay, in her addresss, stated that the institution is now poised to attract persons from foreign countries and to provide several opportunities for national growth.