JIS: Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, is lauding the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ) for making quality higher education accessible to all Jamaicans.


He said the entity is making an invaluable contribution to national development by ensuring the integrity of the range of certificate, associate and bachelor degree programmes offered at community colleges across the island.


“So relevant are these programmes that three Caribbean islands – Turks and Caicos, Anguilla, and The Bahamas – have begun to offer the CCCJ programmes,” he noted.


Minister Reid was delivering the keynote address at the CCCJ’s 15th anniversary banquet at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on December 14.


Noting that community colleges have become a vital part of the post-secondary and higher-education systems, Mr. Reid said the accessibility, flexibility and affordability of these institutions provide options for students who otherwise might not pursue tertiary studies.


“As you maintain the high standards expected of local tertiary institutions, you have been developing new programmes, sometimes in collaboration with the HEART Trust/NTA, to respond to the demands of the business sector,” he said.


The Education Minister said there is great value in working within the existing capacity of the community colleges, based on the programmes offered and the need to quickly train and certify the country’s workforce.


Community colleges offer University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) accredited programmes in areas such as engineering, technology, business, hospitality and tourism management, agriculture, education (trainers of primary-school teachers), and the humanities – criminal justice, social work, logistics, business process outsourcing and management.


The CCCJ’s 15th anniversary banquet was the culmination of year-long celebrations showcasing the work of local community and multidisciplinary colleges.


The function featured the presentation of awards of excellence to 29 former chairpersons, executive directors and principals/presidents of colleges; and faculty, administrative and support staff who have made significant contributions.


Awards for academic excellence were also presented to students as well as the longest serving member of staff.


The CCCJ supervises and coordinates the work of community colleges in Jamaica. Through its regulatory function, it seeks to determine and implement common standards in colleges to ensure the integrity of programmes.


CAPTION: Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (left) is presented with a painting by Human Resource Coordinator for the Council of Community Colleges Jamaica (CCCJ), Pricilla Chambers, during the CCCJ’s 15th Anniversary Banquet on December 14 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston.