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Mona Academic Conference 2004 - “Revisiting Tertiary & Higher Education Policy in Jamaica: Towards Personal Gain or Public Good?

The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus will once again host the Mona Academic Conference from Friday August 27 to Sunday August 29 coinciding with the start of the 2004/2005 academic year. This year’s conference is being held under the theme “Revisiting Tertiary & Higher Education Policy in Jamaica: Towards Personal Gain or Public Good?”. Sponsored by the Office of the Principal, it is being organised by the Research and Policy Group, a joint project of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) and the Mona School of Business (MSB) UWI, Mona.

Chair of the planning committee and Alister McIntyre Research Fellow at the MSB, Ms Rheima Holding says the conference is timely as it follows the completion of a study entitled ″A Proposal for a National Tertiary Education System for Jamaica” carried out through the Alister McIntyre Research and Policy Group. Ms. Holding, who is also Director of the Tertiary Education Project at UWI, Mona, notes that the proposal was circulated to a Working Group which includes members of the private sector and heads of tertiary institutions and orgsnizations, other stakeholders and the Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, the Honourable Maxine Henry-Wilson. She explains that the decision was made that the proposal ‘should be given wide national exposure and benefit from a variety of perspectives. It was therefore decided that UWI’s Mona Academic Conference 2004 would be the ideal forum in which to engage the Jamaican community in a dialogue about the future of higher education in Jamaica’.

The conference will give educators and policymakers the opportunity to examine and discuss issues which are of vital interest and importance to the development of a higher education policy for Jamaica. Presentations will focus on six sub-themes. These are: Towards a Higher Education System for Jamaica: The Government’s Perspective; The Mission of and Access to Tertiary Education Institutions; Financing Higher Education - Policy Choices; Curriculum, Programme and Programme Delivery;Quality Assurance and Regulation Issues; and Perspectives on Higher Education.

The conference’s formal opening ceremony will take place on Friday, August 27 at 6:00 p.m. at the Undercroft, the Senate Building at Mona with UWI Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne giving the keynote address. This will be followed by two days of presentations and discussions that will take place in the Social Sciences Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Social Sciences.

Unlike former years, and because of the nature of the conference, all presenters will be drawn from Jamaica, specifically Jamaica’s education sector, and include academics, policy makers, educators, administrators as well as financial experts. Their presentations will form the basis for interactive discussion on a number of panels that will be established to facilitate the exchange of views between panel members and persons attending the conference.

The conference will close with a presentation by out-going Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Professor the Hon. Rex Nettleford. The closing ceremony will be chaired by Vice Chancellor Designate, Professor E. Nigel Harris.

The event is receiving sponsorship support from Radio Mona and is free and open to the public. Interested persons may access the complete conference programme by visiting the conference website at http://www.mona.uwi.edu/conferences/2004/monaconf.

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