The Caribbean International University (IUC) continues to position itself as a higher education institution of choice in Jamaica, particularly in preparing young people to meet the demands of a competitive global employment environment.
Founded in 2005 by the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the institution is committed to taking students “from where they are” and working with them to ensure they complete their fields of study. studies and receive the desired qualification.
The IUC offers training ranging from certificate to doctorate, but the emphasis is on people seeking vocational and technical education opportunities.
The standard qualification for entry into undergraduate study programs is five passes of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CBSC), including English language and math. However, the institution places greater importance on the engagement of young people who leave high school without skills or certification. The head of the institution, Marcia Hextall, told JIS News that “there is an awareness that people need to be able to articulate from one level of education to another and to the IUC, we specialize in ensuring that this process happens ”.
She notes that the IUC approached the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MoEYI) as early as 2012 to engage students in the Professional Advancement Program (CAP), which has now been replaced by the sixth year program.
This enabled Grade 11 students to attend Jamaica National Vocational Qualification (NVQ-J) courses, equipping them with the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to work in the workplace.
“Since then, we have graduated hundreds of students with certificates and diplomas in areas such as food and beverage, paramedical care (geriatric care), computer network support, electrical installation and business administration, ”said Hextall.
The IUC also offers professional associate degrees in paramedical health, catering operations, logistics, and supply chain management, which are workforce degrees.
In November, the institution will graduate the second cohort of students, who earned a professional associate’s degree in restaurant operations.
To enroll, students must first pass a diagnostic test established by the HEART / NSTA Trust or have passed one or more CSEC subjects.
“These students enter certificate programs (level 2, NVQ-J) and, upon successful completion of this level, can advance to the diploma (level 3, NVQ-J) or enter professional associate degree programs” , explains Ms. Hextall. .
Students, however, who have passed five CSEC subjects, including English and Mathematics, have the option of directly entering Professional Associate Degree programs.
Certificate and diploma programs last between six and nine months, while professional associate degrees are offered over a four-semester or two-year period.
Meanwhile, the university engages students in peace studies, through its Peace Institute and Extended Learning Center (PIELC).
All programs offered at IUC will incorporate a peace-related course as part of the institution’s commitment to bringing about peacemaking in its students.
IUC President Professor Roderick Hewitt told JIS News that the institution’s goal is to “link sustainable livelihoods with peace and well-being.”
A central pillar of IUC PIELC’s work is the Wellness and Resilience program, which involves partnerships with organizations that have been involved in such initiatives in communities over a long period of time.
The IUC president told JIS News that several collaborations have been made to ensure the effectiveness of the program, noting that the courses are offered at both degree and non-degree levels.
“Community and degree programs are seen as an essential part of resilience building efforts. Thus, a component of well-being and resilience will also be included in some degree programs such as community development, guidance and counseling, and primary education at the bachelor’s level and at the master’s level in psychology of the advice and counseling. A key component will be research, where students will be required to do field research, ”he reveals.
The IUC prides itself on being a community institution and has carried out significant community development work in Hannah Town and the Greater Swallowfield area of Kingston.
“Our work in communities is guided by an ethic of peacebuilding, well-being and resilience,” said Ms. Hextall.
Many people in these communities receive scholarships to continue their education and training up to university level.
Certification is also offered to people who work in communities or are community leaders.
This aims to develop skills in key areas of community organization such as peacebuilding, community safety and security, strengthening well-being and resilience, disaster risk management for communities. , youth development, advocacy and project management.
“The goal is to equip community leaders, and especially young leaders, with the kind of skills that can be used to better manage a project and mobilize others to carry out the mandate of true community development.” , explains Ms. Hextall.
The central campus of the IUC is located at 47 Old Hope, St. Andrew, with other campuses in Mandeville, Manchester; Denbigh, Clarendon; Montego Bay, Saint-Jacques; Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, and Tower Isle, St. Mary.