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Editors' Forum | Academy alive and well – JDF head

Published:Tuesday | March 19, 2019 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
In this file photo dated January 21, 2017, members of the Jamaica Defence Force participate in a Change of Command Parade for the chief of defence staff held at the Up Park Camp Polo Field.

Chief of defence staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, has set a 10-year timeline for the newly opened Caribbean Military Academy (CMA) at Up Park Camp, St Andrew, to achieve the necessary accreditation status in keeping with its mandate to transform the way in which the military serves and trains soldiers.

“The academy is alive and well,” he told a Gleaner Editors’ Forum on Thursday. “I have been having discussions with other tertiary institutions and the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ). Starting immediately, we’re gonna have shared programmes where we deliver training and our partners do the accreditation.”

The first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, the CMA will build on the strong foundation of the JDF in the area of professional military education, the chief of defence staff explained during a security symposium at Up Park Camp, on September 28 last year. Since then, the JDF has embarked on a number of strategic partnerships, including with the UCJ, which has provided the force with a self-study guide, while discussions are advanced with The University of the West Indies (UWI) on the delivery of training over the next five to 10 years.

The UCJ is the external quality assurance watchdog for tertiary education in Jamaica.

Meade used the Gleaner Editors’ Forum to provide an update on the progress of the academy curriculum.

“We have started the self-study progamme that we’re gonna submit in a couple of months, I think, and how it works in a rough sense is that having registered and indicated an interest, we have to partner with an institution that’s already accredited.

“Then we have to deliver programmes and we have to deliver two full cohorts that UCJ can now look at and assess to see the rigour and quality of that delivery and then they make a decision about whether we can get our own accreditation.”

In addressing the symposium, titled ‘Great Power, Global Competition: Opportunity or Threat’, at the JDF headquarters last month, Meade explained that the academy “will allow the JDF and other regional forces to train our own soldiers and officers at all levels, utilising international curriculums, which are tailored to meet our own specific needs in the region and the needs of militaries from other developing countries”.