The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has struck another landmark in its history, with the launch of its associate degree programme slated to be awarded in 2006.
The programme, which was launched today (May 27) at the Hilton Kingston Hotel, will see candidates being able to get an associate degree in any of the nine disciplines, namely business studies, computer science, environmental science, general studies, humanities, mathematics, modern languages, natural sciences and technical studies.
In her address, Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson lauded the introduction of the associate degree programme, noting that the CXC had proven itself, not by accident but by dint of a deliberate process, by commitment and purpose over the years.
“It stood condemned based on the shortsighted and invalid belief of some of our regional brothers and sisters that nothing good could come out of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, it is an argument that continues to rage and we hear it 30 years later in relation to the Caribbean Court of Justice,” she said.
The Minister said there has been a growing anxiety on the part of Caribbean governments that “we should be forging ahead” in the creation of a globally competitive world-class workforce, and so the question arose as to how best to do this. “The various transitions, which have been made by CXC recognizes that our Caribbean people are capable of being globally competitive and that while they may need foundational academic qualifications, they have to go beyond that and learn knowledge skills and attitudes that equip them for the entire world,” she said.
She further noted that the content and the assessment method, which were now being used by CXC recognized the need to provide valuable opportunity for reinforcement and application of the generic skills of communication, analysis, synthesis and problem-solving requirements of every modern labour market and of a wider society.
She said that all the Caribbean governments embraced the objectives for the award of the associate degree. These objectives, she noted, were best articulated as stated in one of the goals, which is to offer a qualification based on successful completion of a coherent programme of post secondary education. This, she said would allow for the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes required for the workplace, for continuing tertiary level education, and for effective local, regional and global citizenship.
“I appeal to CXC and to others that we be clear in our mission. We must go far beyond providing a certificate if we are to be true to our principles as educators,” Mrs. Henry-Wilson said.
She said that from examining the associate degree programme, CXC offered content, methods of instruction, and assessment, which are required of students that could make them good citizens.
“If we are to build good citizens at the post fifth form level, we have to give them something more than the curriculum. We have to prepare them for all of those intangibles of life. Hence, those who are involved in that preparation must be capable of giving them a different attitude of mind. It must not just be about reciting what they have learnt, but to be independent thinkers,” she said.
The decision to inaugurate the associate degree, she said, was a significant step in making sure that “we build local regional and global citizens of sterling character”.