Career & Education

Ontario university wants more Caribbean students

Associate editor - features

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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ONTARIO, Canada — The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) says it is so impressed with its Caribbean students that it plans to increase the number of students it recruits from the tropical islands.

Already it has an international student population of 700, of which 100 are from the Caribbean and 20 from Jamaica. Total enrolment stands at around 10,000.

“It's an important market for us,” Associate Registrar and Director of Enrolment Services Joe Stokes told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday. “Our second-largest population of students is from the Caribbean; Bermuda has the largest, followed by Jamaica, then Barbados, the Bahamas and Trinidad.

“We made the Caribbean market a priority last year. It is the only English-speaking overseas market where we recruit and it's for a number of reasons. The school system is great. The students do well, and we want successful students to enrol in our programmes,” Stokes continued.

The benefit for the students, he said, is that they get to pursue programmes that are either not offered in their home country, or are offered differently. Two popular ones, according to his data, are medical sciences and health sciences, in general.

Stokes explained that UOIT has existing partnership agreements with all three campuses of The University of the West Indies to foster student and faculty exchanges. And, added to that, it is currently seeking to extend programmes to the University of Technology, Jamaica, and other schools.

“Jamaica is a desirable place for our students to go in the winter. We don't have open-air classes like you do, for example. We could do it now, but we just don't see that kinda thing.”

Open-air classes aside, Stokes said UOIT can learn how to implement community health care from Jamaica and Jamaican institutions: “Our health care in Canada is good, but there isn't a whole lot of coordination. [It could be because] Jamaica is smaller; but Canada, we don't have that,” he said.

As far as recruitment initiatives, UOIT will participate in the annual career fair the Canadian High Commission is staging for November, in addition to independent recruitment.

Career & Education profiles four Jamaicans currently enrolled at UOIT:


Entering 2nd year,
BSc mechanical engineering

• holds an ASc in marine engineering from Caribbean Maritime Institute
• graduate of Jonathan Grant and Jose Marti high schools
• worked as mechanical technician at Jamaica Energy Partners for two years
• no family and/or friends in Canada
• chose Canada because of friendly immigration policies
• chose UOIT because of affordability

“I applied to some schools in the US, but because of the changing immigration policy I changed to Canada. I wanted to apply to University of Toronto, but it was really expensive and somebody recommended Durham College (which shares a campus with UOIT). When I went on the website I saw UOIT so...”

Pursuing PhD in nuclear engineering

• holds a master's degree in environmental health and safety and a BSc in physics from The University of the West Indies
• graduate of Kingston College
• worked at International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences for roughly 10 years
• chose UOIT because he found a professor — in health physicist Dr Anthony Waker — whose résumé he'd like to mimic

Entering 2nd year, BA communication and digital media studies

• first from Caribbean to win Global Leadership Award, which pays CDN$18,000 per year for four years
• graduate of Immaculate Conception High School
• travelled to school from Annotto Bay, St Mary, every day for seven years
• was active in clubs and societies; planning to form a Caribbean students' association at UOIT
• chose UOIT because of the blend of communication programme with digital media

Entering the postgraduate victimology diploma programme at Durham College

• holds a BA in criminology and justice from UOIT (with a minor in criminology)
• attended American International School of Kingston
• chose UOIT because of small class sizes and close relationship with professors





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