Judian and Donovan Wright are truly agents of change. These young educators, husband and wife, have been working assiduously over the past 10 years to develop rural Jamaica in Junction, St Elizabeth, where they operate South East College.
Judian established the first version of South East College as a home-based institution in her backyard while she was still a student at Manchester High School. Since then, the institution has grown progressively into a high-calibre institution offering career and university pathways to students. A new campus was also established in Kingston earlier this year.
South East College is an accredited college of the Association of Business Executives (ABE), London, UK, providing a gateway for students studying business management and travel, tourism and hospitality management to enter universities worldwide. ABE, through its partnerships with universities worldwide, has made it easier and more affordable for secondary school graduates to earn a degree.
South East College is now poised to help Jamaica move to the correct side of the equation. According to Judian and Donovan, they are concerned that too many of our youths, especially our males, are leaving secondary school without the prerequisite to gain admission to tertiary education. The Wrights are also worried about the lack of employability skills in secondary and tertiary graduates seeking employment.
Judian, who holds a master's degree in educational leadership from Central Connecticut State University, suggests that educators and educational leaders become change agents and look to other prominent approaches to teaching and learning that have evolved during the past decade. "We live in an age of information which requires schools to consider what and how we teach children," she explains. With the age of information upon us, managing and allocating technological resources and affording students opportunities to incorporate technology into their learning are becoming necessary skills for effective principals and educators to possess.
South East College has been investing heavily in the development of programmes to enhance students' employability and learning skills. "Our University Advancement and Academic Coaching programmes are designed to meet these specific needs. Also of paramount importance to us is the accessibility of information by our students. Our campuses are equipped with wireless Internet service, which means that students have Internet access at their finger tips, as most of them have a smart phone," explain the Wrights.
The college is now working to have all students enrolled receive a tablet to be used to enhance the teaching/learning experience. This they hope to get on board for the next academic year.