MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Knockalva Agricultural School is now a polytechnic college, a move which will increase the number and range of tertiary education programmes available to individuals in western Jamaica.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Ruel Reid, noted that the rebranded institution, located in Hanover, will bring tertiary studies to the doorsteps of residents of the parish, in addition to St James and Westmoreland.
“We cannot have all our colleges and universities in Kingston and St Andrew. We don’t have enough space, and more so, education and training systems are changing so rapidly that even in your living room you can access certain programmes. So we have to bring education and training as close to our people as possible,” said Reid.
He was speaking at a ceremony Thursday to officially launch the 2018/2019 school year and mark the new Knockalva Polytechnic College on the grounds of the institution in Ramble.
The ceremony included the signing of memoranda of understanding between Knockalva and several institutions for the provision of tertiary qualifications. They are Caribbean Maritime University, the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, The Mico University College and GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport.
The Education Minister, who informed JIS News of the Government’s intention to upgrade Knockalva earlier this year, said at the time, that the institution “fits very neatly in our K [kindergarten]to 18 strategy”.
“It is now viewed as a post-secondary (institution) and it needs to be reclassified and upgraded to become a full polytechnic, as we have done with the Trench Town Polytechnic. That will attract tertiary-level programmes so that the students can achieve better certification and be better aligned to industry,” he further pointed out.