Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reid Calls for Universal Access at all Levels of Education

Chairman of the National Education Council, Ruel Reid, has stressed that Jamaica should move towards having universal access to secondary and tertiary education in the island, so the society can compete in a global world.

Reid, who was speaking recently at the 10th Annual CHOICES Career and Education Expo held at the University of Technology, said that the country should strive to have every boy and girl develop his or her potential.

"Research showed that up to the early 1990s in the English-speaking Caribbean, less than two per cent of the working population have been to a university. And by the way, it's not much different in 2010," he said.

Policies of the past

He attributes this to the policies of the past, which didn't allow more universities to be introduced to complement the University of the West Indies - the only one at the time.

This, Reid said, meant limited access to tertiary education, which has stymied the development of the region.

"In 2010, we are facing some challenges but part of the problem we face in 2010 is a result of the policies we have pursued over those years and, in a sense, we took too long to recognise that the world was changing and to provide the needs to allow our Caribbean people to better position ourselves for the 21st century," Reid explained.

There are now more than 15 public tertiary institutions in the island, along with several private universities.

Reid, who is also the principal of Jamaica College, said he would like to see Jamaica transfer its good record in primary education to the secondary and tertiary levels.

"While we have universal primary education, we have not, even now, achieved universal secondary education, because we started off with the junior secondary schools, (then added) some all-age schools," he said.

He continued, "You can't have a system where 26,000 to 30,000 students every year leave the high-school system and many of them, in fact, don't even have a space beyond third form. So we don't even have universal secondary, and we don't have universal tertiary. we have to solve the problem."

'While we have universal primary education, we have not, even now, achieved universal secondary education, because we started off with the junior secondary schools, (then added) some all-age schools.'

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

“CHOICES Can Help You Decide”

Message from Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness,
for CHOICES Career & Education Expo
Kingston leg - March 2010

I congratulate CHOICES Career Advice on staging another CHOICES Career & Education Exposition. Many young people want to choose fulfilling careers, but do not know how to go about doing so. CHOICES must be lauded for providing roadmaps through its expositions and magazines on how to choose careers.

Career planning is the route to career success for many persons. Young people, you can be successful without career planning, but that’s a hit or miss approach. To ensure you are successful in life, plan the path you want to take and work to achieve your goals. This process assumes you know enough to choose the path you want to take, I am sure some of you do while others do not have a clue. CHOICES can help you decide what it is you like, what you are good at and the direction you want to go.

As young people thinking about your futures, you have the chance to confront and change the problems besetting Jamaica. You have the opportunity to say yes to what's best in your communities and to say no to what's worst in your communities. You have a chance to say, through your career choices as well as through you decisions concerning the kinds of lives you want to lead, the type of society in which you want to live.

I hope that many of you, as you pursue your careers and your lives, will help to lead the nation in a direction that will push it toward growth and prosperity.

Thank you.

Friday, April 2, 2010


They sang; they danced; performed; listened keenly and drank in of all the fine information and opportunities presented before them.
The near 1500 students, counsellors, teachers, parents and others who attended the Kingston leg of the 2010 CHOICES Career & Education Expo at UTECH's Auditorium left well pleased with what had been presented to them during the course of a full 9a.m. - 5p.m. day. They had their fill of career counselling, talks, presentations and entertainment.
With the official opening with its formal speeches and wise words of advice completed, they were ready to begin. The presentations on stage were well received and ran smoothly in between song and dance performances by the International Youth Fellowship (IYF); Dominique Hemmings, 6th former at Kingston College on the sax, The CHOICES Song Contest and The closing show featuring a fashion fiesta by KAJU and a spell-binding performance by Jamaica's own fine and fabulous Nickiesha Barnes. Emcee on Stage, Craig Mc Nally, kept the pace lively and the audience happy.
Teachers and counsellors were enthralled by the special talk presented by Dr. Herbert Gayle, sociologist and anthropologist, on the subject "Whither Our Boys" while the boys benefitted from "Boys To Men" a talk specifically to help them to get on track and stay there which was conducted by Mr. Kayson Jones.
In attendance were schools from as far away as Montego Bay, Trelawny and Hanover. Some students got up as early as 3a.m. to make sure they did not miss their transport to the capital.
Amongst the rewards for those making extra effort to participate in the stage programme were prizes such as gift baskets from Kirk Distributors, York Pharmacy, Maggi and Soft Sheen; entry passes to Palace Multiplex, Rainforest, Suncoast Adventure Park, Bob Marley Museum and Cool Runnings Water Park; dinners, lunches, munchies and brunches at the Jamaica Pegasus, TGI Friday, Hilton Kingston, Pier One and Morgan's Harbour Hotel; glamour shots at Bryan's Studios; jewellery from Beyond Jewellery; gift vouchers from Extras, Megamart and Western Sports and lots of give-aways from CHOICES, Grace Beverages, Honey Bun, St. Mary's Banana Chips, Pepsi, PMD Beverages and more. The Hot Dog Man kept everyone fed and watered with delicious American style hot dog combos including every condiment on top and lemonade.
Next stop for CHOICES Career & Education Expo in this 10th anniversary year will be Mandeville. Watch out for more updates.

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