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CMI offers Mandarin to create logistics hub-ready workforce

Published:Tuesday | August 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

As of September 2014, the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) will offer Mandarin as a core course to all students enrolled at the institute. This is as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which was signed on July 30, 2014 between the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) in China and the CMI.

The Government of Jamaica, Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, and China Harbour signed a framework agreement for the development of the Goat Islands Project where CMI was named as a training partner. In support of this, as the premier maritime and logistics training institution, CMI is playing its part by facilitating necessary capacity building and provision of international certification and training. This is with an aim to adequately prepare the Jamaican workforce for an integrated market space with Chinese nationals when the logistics hub materialises. This framework agreement, which is supported by the ministries of Education and Transport, Works and Housing, was formalised with a symbolic ceremony which was attended by the Minister of Transport, Works and Housing Dr Omar Davies; Chief Education Officer Dr Grace McLean as well as representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister, China Harbour, and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce.

Momentous achievement

In his remarks at the ceremony, Dr Davies expressed the ministry's endorsement for what he deemed "a momentous achievement", while Dr Pinnock stated that "CMI has embraced the Chinese investment in Jamaica as a critical vehicle of national development".

This MOU sets the stage for future collaborative initiatives. One such initiative to be explored is a partnership between CMI and Shanghai Maritime University which will see the exchange of students and faculty between the two organisations. The second is a partnership between Huayang Maritime Centre and CMI, which is aimed at providing births for training of cadets. This programme will commence with four cadets in the first batch.

At the start of the new semester, two Mandarin teachers will be employed at the CMI to commence the process. This forms part of a wider agreement with CMI and the Chinese government to expand the institute's physical facilities, enhance its accommodation in order to attract regional and international students, maximise on the use of technology and attract and retain highly qualified technical and academic staff. Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, His Excellency Dong Xiaojun, identified the signing of this MOU as "a basis upon which all these will be achieved in the future".

Other areas of collaboration will be explored to incorporate CMI students and Jamaicans at large through training opportunities in China.