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Critical thinking displacing academic qualification – JAMPRO’s Edwards

Published:Wednesday | March 20, 2019 | 12:14 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer


Diane Edwards, president of Jamaica Promotions (JAMPRO), says that while the country is doing everything to equip its human capital with skills for the job market, global companies like Google are employing critical thinkers over persons with academic qualifications.

Edwards used data from Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest jobs recruiting websites based in California, in the US, which has pointed out that 15 of the biggest companies in the world are no longer focusing on finding employees with degrees.

“If you look at people like Apple, IBM, Google and Amazon, many of them founded by high-school and usually university dropouts, they are not so interested in educational qualifications now,” said Edwards. “They are non-traditional thinkers … they are looking for critical-thinking skills.”

Edwards, who was speaking at the recent University Council of Jamaica’s symposium on quality assurance in higher education and the celebration of quality assurance week 2019 in Montego Bay, said there was the need for constant retooling.

“We are in a constant state of retooling because of the change of space,” said Edwards. “It’s really important and the tech savviness of our population, and particularly of our young people coming into the labour market, is going to be really critical.”

Edwards said that JAMPRO was now moving to ensure that the country was adequately prepared for the next wave of jobs, noting that the future of work in Jamaica was dependent on a global service sector training programme.

“One of the ways we are doing this is to implement a new programme called the global services sector (GSS) programme, which is actually focused on preparing our young people and upskilling them for the future of work and the new jobs and applications, whose format we don’t even know yet,” said the JAMPRO president.

“What we are doing under the GSS project is to ensure high quality and relevance of our workforce. We are going to be mapping training providers and enhancing the quality standard of our training providers, so we are going to be doing a lot of training for them,” Edward added.