KINGSTON, Jamaica — With the view that higher education is important to the development of the country, the Government is looking to create an Integrated Higher Education System for Jamaica (IHES-J) aimed at better aligning training to industry demands.
Portfolio Minister, Senator Ruel Reid, made the disclosure while addressing the opening of the ministry’s inaugural Higher Education Summit on Thursday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
“This integration is expected to be supported with policies and systems to support greater autonomy, greater alignment to industry and a flexible approach to funding to support the needs of the institutions, while ensuring that students are being trained in areas that are required by industry and will ultimately impact the economy,” said Reid.
He said despite deliberations over the years, limited progress has been made in addressing the need for greater integration of education and training.
“Our hope is that coming out of these discussions (at the summit) we will be able to agree on the needed and significant steps forward together.”
The two-day summit, under the theme: ‘Education 4.0: Disrupting Tradition… Transforming Jamaica,’ provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss and provide feedback on a number of issues critical to the development of the higher education sector.
The minister said that among the national imperatives are: to increase the percentage of eligible cohort holding the minimum of a bachelor’s degree from 15 per cent to 80 per cent; remove barriers to access; and ensure that institutions are responsive to the changing dynamics and requirements of the labour market.