JIS: Cabinet has given approval for the establishment of a law school at the University of Technology (UTech).
This was disclosed by Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, at the official opening of a shared facility building at UTech’s Old Hope Road Campus in St. Andrew on December 14.
“I am quite aware of the agreement with CARICOM for the establishment of the Norman Manley Law School and its particular and special relationship with the University of the West Indies (UWI), so for us to change that arrangement to allow equity in access to the Norman Manley Law School, we will have to go back and have some amendments to the Treaty of Chaguaramas. That’s one option,” the Minister noted.
“So, although Cabinet is minded to pursue that option, the University of Technology has said that they are not necessarily pursuing that. What they would prefer is to have their own law school, and to that Cabinet has expressed its affirmative position. That is why I am able to indicate that the Government, by policy, is supportive of this particular development,” he added.
The Minister said this will allow for more trained and certified persons in the profession and can position the country to becoming a hub in providing services in knowledge process outsourcing and legal process outsourcing.
Senator Reid pointed out that this forms part of the Government’s position of expanding opportunities for education and training of the workforce.
He said the Norman Manley Law School is unable to accommodate all the students who have been pursuing law degrees.
In an interview with JIS News, President, UTech, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, said steps will be taken immediately to introduce the law school.
“We hope that we can begin in September of the coming year to take our first batch of law school students,” he said.
Professor Vasciannie noted that the school will allow graduates of the faculty of law at the university to proceed with their lifelong dream of becoming attorneys-at-law.
“I am elated. It is something that I have pushed for quite some time, and members of the Faculty of Law and of the University, generally, are very happy to hear this news,” he said.
UWI graduates with a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree gain automatic entry into the programme at Norman Manley Law School. This is facilitated by Article Three of the Treaty of Chaguaramas.
Students earning LLB degrees from other institutions must sit an entrance test and earn a passing grade, which does not guarantee admission.
Turning to the significance of the state-of-the-art shared facility, the Minister said it will contribute to improved teaching and learning at the institution.
“This has been the single largest infrastructure development for the University of Technology since it transitioned from CAST (College of Arts, Science and Technology), so the Government is very happy about that and it is again consistent with our commitment to continue to invest in education,” he said.
The Minister added that the Government will continue to partner with UTech to further expand their capacity to welcome more students.
CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (left), cuts the ribbon to officially open the shared facility building at the University of Technology (UTech), Old Hope Road, St. Andrew, on December 14. Others (from second left) are President, UTech, Professor Stephen Vasciannie; Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr. Wayne Henry; and Chancellor, UTech, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga.