Tertiary programme met with opposition
While not lowering the standards of tertiary education, persons without formal certification will now be able to access higher learning through the National Qualifications Frame-work of Jamaica (NQF-J), which will be facilitated by the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (J-TEC).
This was, however, met with some opposition from at least two stakeholders, one being Dr Fritz Pinnock, executive director at the Caribbean Maritime, who said that the NQF-F required a professional certification clause that deals specifically with equipping persons for the workforce.
"I must say that as a country, we have made great strides and it is very significant that we have reached this stage. We sat down with the minister and we agreed that there was another column that should be there, which should include the professional clause. The industry has realised that what we are putting out from the tertiary, including the National Vocational Qualifications, that does not meet all the requirements, so they have been calling for a professional certification. However that track was taken out today," he said
"We are saying that there has to be another clause for the significance of Jamaica's qualification, for us to be flexible and to be able to meet the needs of the workforce. This would prepare people for the workforce and (offer) certification aligned to the workforce. We are saying that we need to come together as a country and realise that the workforce has needs," he said.
Dr Paulette Dunn-Pierre, who gave the background to the NQF-J, in responding to Pinnnock's comments, said the framework was built to include every sector and no one would be left out.
" ... With this framework, persons can move from nothing up to a doctoral degree. J-TEC is responsible for hosting all the qualifications. The education training sector would know that they will have to accept persons now and they can point them in a direction where they can get training to move up, both in the private and public sectors," she said.