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Caribbean Maritime Institute Facing Space Constraints As Enrolment Increases

Published:Wednesday | September 2, 2015 | 9:00 AM
Dr Fritz Pinnock, head of the Caribbean Maritime Institute.

Enrolment figures at the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) have been on an upward trajectory since increased awareness about the expected expansion in Jamaica's logistics industry.

Eight years ago when Dr Fritz Pinnock took over the leadership of the maritime institution, the school was registering somewhere in the region of 200 students. Fast-forward to the 2012/2013 academic year and that number went up to a total count of 1,200 students. The 2013/14 school year saw that number increase by 300. For the 2014/15 academic year, the school registered 2,400 students and now the institution is looking at a total cohort of about 3,500.

This increase in enrolment has been placing severe constraints on the resources of the institution.

"There is definitely a shortage of resources and facilities, CMI is the least funded tertiary institution in Jamaica; many teachers' colleges get far more subventions than what we get, but we have to run CMI as a business, so we have been reaching out to partners to address the needs," Pinnock told The Gleaner.

According to Pinnock, the shortage of space requires that another maritime institution be built to absorb the number of persons wanting to obtain training in logistics and maritime studies. Given that the institution is set to gain university status and is to be rebranded the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), it is expected that the enrolment figures will increase exponentially.

space constraints

Meanwhile, Pinnock has been engaging a number of partnerships to deal with the space constraints.

"The challenge is great ... so we have had to be working in a creative way; for example, this year, we are going to be using facilities at The Mico University and also helping The Mico to build capacity, too, because we are short on space, we don't have the money to build the space right now and the jobs are there for the students and the market is there, because right now, we have three times the applications we can handle, so we are working creatively," he said.

Other partnerships which have been formed in a bid to secure space for CMI students include the introduction of programmes at Sam Sharpe Teachers' College, Knox Community College and discussions are currently under way to offer CMI programmes at the College of Agricultural Science and Education.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com