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City & Guilds signs partnership with Caribbean Maritime Institute

BY JAVENE SKYERS Observer writer

Thursday, July 03, 2014    

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CITY & Guilds of London Institute, in collaboration with the City & Guilds Jamaica Representative Office, has announced major new developments in education and training in Jamaica.

The new initiatives include a partnership with CMI, an expanded partnership with the Ministry of Education and the introduction of culturally relevant Mathematics and English curricula for Jamaican students.

The partnership was formalised by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between City & Guilds Institute and the CMI at a press conference at the British High Commission offices in Kingston on Tuesday. City & Guilds is the world's leading vocational examination body.

Minister of Education Rev Ronald Thwaites, speaking at the press conference, lauded both the local and international arms of City & Guilds Institute of London for their new educational thrust.

"The whole texture of this gathering speaks to this new reality...the excellence and pedigree of technical and vocational education", said Thwaites, who emphasised that those who engage in this area of study are not the 'what lef' of the school system.

The mindset, he said, must be changed because the brightest and most ambitious minds will not always be those who attended Cambridge, Harvard, Yale or the local equivalent, but will be those who engage in a variety of technical and vocational institutions and studies.

He said that as a demonstration of confidence in City & Guilds, the ministry has partnered with them to launch the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) in September of 2009, and in 2011 signed a contract for the delivery of exams in Mathematics and English in all CAP centres worldwide. As such, 139 public high schools were named to be City & Guild registration centres for Math and English in 2012.

The minister expressed delight that a more cultural focus will be placed on Mathematics and English and that while City & Guilds is ahead in this regard, the Caribbean Examinations Council at the insistence of the education ministry which is projecting that by 2017, students must not only understand English but must be able to express it as well.

He then urged City & Guilds to be particularly mindful of teaching Math in a way that is practical oriented and that will particularly attract young men, who are having a difficulty in the present arrangement.

"But today has this other dimension, because the signing of the partnership agreement between the Caribbean Maritime Institute and City & Guilds is an important milestone in the decades-old relationship between the latter and Jamaica", Thwaites said.

The organisation, he noted, is ahead with their proposal to introduce a suite of courses in the areas of logistics, warehousing and engineering, and this will boost Jamaica's plan to establish the fourth global logistics hub.

Thwaites explained that investors are no longer interested in the rate of their investment as while they are willing to invest, they can't find a suitable number of employees in the country for their workforce and this is an embarrassment.

"Our talent is already assured, it is the opportunity that is lacking", Thwaites said, even as he encouraged persons to use their energy and contacts to help provide opportunities for unemployed young people as well as teach them that these opportunities and education are to be valued.

"The availability of a trained and certified workforce is critical to the medium and long-term co-operation of every investment coming into Jamaica", Thwaites said.

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