No bandooloo

No bandooloo

Ministry says associate degrees will be presented this month

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is reporting that graduates from the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) who raised concerns about not being awarded their associate degrees should be in receipt of them “before the end of December”.

The ministry was responding to yesterday's Jamaica Observer front-page story which reported that hundreds of students were not awarded the degrees despite completing the two-year Occupational Associate Degree programme at CMU.

The two-year associate degree programme, developed under the direction of the Centre of Occupational Studies in the education ministry, was launched in 2016 by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to boost Jamaica's skilled workforce in the areas of logistics, business process outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing, manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality, and renewable energy technology.

But, according to the angry students, who asked not to be identified out of fear of being victimised, there had been no word from authorities regarding the issuance of the degrees, even though several of them were unable to gain employment, secure promotion at work, or further their studies.

In fact, one student likened being kept in the dark to “some bandooloo thing”.

In a release yesterday, the ministry said each graduate who had participated in and completed the Occupational Associate Degree programme at CMU and who met the requirements was given a certificate of recognition at the graduation ceremony.

The release also said that all students can be provided with a transcript to be used for jobs and higher level training along with the certificate of recognition received from the ministry.

The ministry said graduates also received “stackable credentials” and some received certificates for customer service.

“It must be noted that because this is the first cohort of students and, as is the norm, the institutions then have to go through the accreditation process,” the statement from the ministry said.

It also said that seven institutions participating in the programme, based on the procedures, were expected to provide the certification as tertiary institutions and make available transcripts as required.

“All seven institutions have commenced the issuing of the associate degree. All institutions are now going through the accreditation process. Specifically relating to the Caribbean Maritime University, which has degree-granting power, it also has the capability to certify the students.

“Thirty-five students are eligible for certification in intermodal transportation management and logistics and supply chain operations. These students have met the requirements and their associate degrees are now going through the final stages of preparation and will be ready before the end of December,” the ministry explained.

However, graduates have contended that some portfolios, which form part of the requirement for the completion of the programme, “have not even been assessed or graded”.

They explained also that some lecturers who were previously assigned to the portfolios resigned without completing the assessments.

They were allowed to graduate, despite this.

The ministry statement suggested, however, that “disruptions within the CMU since March 2019” may have contributed to clarifying and expediting the process.

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