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Second Chance For Persons Without Formal Qualifications
KINGSTON (JIS) -- Persons without formal qualifications, but with the requisite experience and vocational skills, will soon be able to access higher education. This will be made possible through the National Qualification Framework of Jamaica (NQF-J), which facilitates the identification of various avenues individuals can take to higher education, depending on the level of these qualifications. It also facilitates mature entry into programmes. The NQF-J, which was officially launched yesterday (February 15) at The Knutsford Court Hotel, in St. Andrew, is a new national policy for regulated qualifications in Jamaica’s education and training system. Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, explained that the NQF-J has been introduced as a way of standardising and improving the quality of training in Jamaica.
“The NQF-J is one way of bridging the gap between academic qualification and technical vocational qualification. The focus is on creating a track for the occupational degrees that is separate from traditional degrees or straight vocational qualification,” he added.
Senator Reid pointed out that the NQF-J should level the playing field “by neutralising all qualifications so multiple pathways and multiple assessments will allow all persons to be qualified by age 30.”
The Minister said that with the onset of globalisation and the mobility of the workforce in the Caribbean and elsewhere, it is necessary to put a system in place that standardises qualifications that are recognised at home and abroad.
He further informed that the NQF-J will provide a register in which all the qualifications in the general, secondary, post-secondary, tertiary or professional sectors in all eight levels offered in the Jamaican education and training system are housed.
“It is intended to improve access to work and further learning by ensuring that qualifications are relevant to employment and learning, and meet the needs of learners, the economy and education and training institutions,” he said.
The Minister noted that by providing greater transparency within the national qualifications system, the NQF-J will support greater progression and mobility for lifelong learning through education and training pathways.
“It will also enable flexible and individualised learning and employability through increased access to assessment and certification, and greater recognition and certification of learning and achievements,” he said.
In addition, the matriculation and articulation requirements of the NQF-J allow persons to get credits for courses done, whether through apprenticeship or in the formal system.
The Framework is one of the activities undertaken by the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (J-TEC), as part of the fulfilment of its mandate.
Meanwhile, Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer, J-TEC, Maxine Henry-Wilson, said the establishment of the Framework is in furtherance of the Commission’s mission to improve Jamaica’s tertiary system, by working with institutions to ensure that they are internationally competitive, relevant and accessible.
“Jamaica is known for having a high quality, high calibre tertiary system, and we want to make sure we keep that tradition, but that we make it more accessible to all who have the ambition, even if they don’t have the qualifications yet,” she said.
The J-TEC is mandated to register, monitor and measure the performance of institutions which offer tertiary studies in Jamaica, including online delivery of programmes.