UWI To Stage Future Education Conference

The University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Education will be hosting its biennial conference from June 20-23 at the Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Montego Bay.

Under the theme ‘Envisioning Future Education: Cross-disciplinary, Synergy, Imperatives and Perspectives’, the event will serve as a forum to inform the research agenda in the School of Education in order to support the development of the region.

The four-day event was officially launched on Wednesday at the UWI’s Regional Headquarters located on the Mona campus.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator Ruel Reid, in welcoming the staging of the conference, said the entire Caribbean was at an important juncture in the design and delivery of its education systems and products. 

He said that education in Jamaica must be repositioned in order to meet the demands of the job market and achieve Government’s growth targets.

Noting that the job market requires that employees perform various tasks with speed and efficiency, he said studies show that professionals who do well in a competitive global environment are those who are multitalented and multiskilled.

“Thus there is the need for synergy. The reality is that today’s worker is required to perform many tasks, each of which used to be the singular focus or responsibility of one individual,” Reid pointed out.

“We are, therefore, being called on to get the message across to more of our students that they don’t have the luxury of too narrow a focus in their career pursuits. The IT technician, or architect, for example, with the capacity to communicate in Mandarin will find that he or she will bring a value-added to certain projects right here in Jamaica, which (previously) would have been the exclusive domain of the expatriate. This, therefore, means there are a number of imperatives that must drive the delivery of education going forward,” Senator Reid said.

He further pointed to the importance of critical thinking, while noting that the ministry had been emphasising the need for a more constructivist approach to teaching and learning.

In his remarks, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the UWI Mona campus, Professor Archibald McDonald, said the conference will bring together some of the region’s most prominent thinkers and practitioners in education.

He noted that the UWI was always honoured to provide a platform for information sharing and discussion that will add to the region’s knowledge regarding education and learning at the tertiary level.

“We also support the opportunities for our leading thinkers to share their expertise and views on the future of education and the ways in which the UWI is capable of shaping a more positive future for our Caribbean in this regard,” Professor McDonald said.

Jamaica Gleaner