Private, public universities need to forge partnerships – Green
AMIDST mounting concerns from a private university about differentiated treatment for public and private tertiary institutions, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education Youth and Information, Floyd Green has countered that while there is need for partnership, universities need to become more creative.
President of Northern Caribbean University – owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church – Dr Lincoln Edwards, during the question and answer segment of the ministry’s HEART Trust/NTA’s stakeholders’ dialogue with Michael Lee Chin, Chairman of the Economic Growth Council on Wednesday at Jamaica House in Kingston, asked the minister about the possibilities of a more equitable share of resources to grow the university in light of the many contributions that it has been making locally in its over 110 years of existence.
In response, Green argued that government has always been in support of private institutions, noting that while the benefits may not have been direct, the school has been supported by thousands of students who the Government has assisted financially to access tertiary education. However, he said that the ministry could look at ways for more direct benefits.
“We ourselves (at the Ministry) are looking at a greater level of partnership within our tertiary and private institutions. In order to achieve the results we want, for example, if we need to train a number of students in a certain time, we could partner with a private institution to make this happen because we need to have the capacity once investment comes,” Minister Green said
But the minister, citing the nine-month-old partnership between Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College and Caribbean Maritime Institute suggested that tertiary institutions should be actively seeking partnerships in an effort to meet the demands of their mandates while increasing the potential of producing more rounded graduates.
“So, universities what these two universities did, instead of to build a third campus, they forged a partnership and more universities need to see the value in this. This partnership has seen the Government coming in and pooling resources,” Green explained.
The HEART Trust/NTA and the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education (JCTE) are also actively seeking to capitalise on the possibility of a partnership between public and private sector institutions.
“Through the Absorptive Capacity programme, to be launched [on Thursday], it is already making strides to provide support for tertiary skills training in both public and private institutions,” chief education officer Dr Grace McLean added.
“Chairman of the JCTE Dr Cecil Cornwall has already been using the Labour Market survey data to create a list of the areas that need improvement and we are now actively working to ensure people are trained to fill these needs,” She said.
Chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA, Maxine Wilson said that the programme will expand access to skills training programmes while supporting one of the Economic Growth Council’s key growth initiatives which is ‘building the human capital by focusing on policies and strategies that nurture human capital and development and provide skills training that match the needs of our economy’.
First published in the JamaicaObserver.com