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GROUP CHAIRMAN'S BLOG
Articles & Columns Published in the Jamaican Sunday Gleaner by Dr. Winston Adams

Are Colleges Preparing Graduates For Entrepreneurship?

Are Colleges Preparing Graduates For Entrepreneurship?

September 3, 2017

JAMAICA'S JOB market is extremely challenging for many graduates leaving universities and colleges. Gone are the days of the 1960s and '70s when students leaving the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Technology (UTech), formerly CAST, had the choice of several attractive positions in the private and public sectors.

Apart from traditional professions, such as medicine, nursing, law and teaching - for which there is a steady annual demand because of migration - many graduates of tertiary institutions struggle to find fulfilling employment. With their numbers increasing, more young college or university graduates are being encouraged to start their own businesses.

It is a fact that, with the increase in information and computer technology, most jobs of the future will not be lifelong engagements with large private or public entities. Rather, these jobs will be of shorter duration with much technology-driven and macroeconomically-driven change and require retraining, upskilling and lifelong learning.

Traditional jobs will be the subject of fierce competition and many graduates will need to create their own jobs and enterprises, or work in teams to do this.

Making Tertiary Education More Affordable

Making Tertiary Education More Affordable

June 18, 2017

Government's recent bailout of hundreds of local tertiary students represented a timely reminder of the imbalance between the potential demand by Jamaican students for the provision of tertiary education and the inability of these students to afford such services.

Recall that in April this year - the onset of the 'exam season' - hundreds of university and college students faced the grim reality of being barred from sitting their final exams because of unpaid tuition fees. This situation has become a recurring decimal each year as more and more students seek to attend tertiary institutions, while being unable to meet the rising costs of such higher-level studies.

Add to this the factor of continuing globalisation, which has driven universities to become business enterprises. Universities everywhere are reducing their reliance on public support and are seeking to become more entrepreneurial. Compare the University of the West Indies, Mona, now to 15 years ago.

Government's injection of $300 million to assist needy students at the UWI, Mona, the University of Technology, and the Caribbean Maritime Institute campuses is a decision that was indeed applauded by the Opposition People's National Party and student leaders.

The Impact Of Recent Tax Measures On Higher Education Sector

The Impact Of Recent Tax Measures On Higher Education Sector

April 21, 2017

Much of the national debate over the past two weeks have centred around the Government's controversial tax measures of $13.5 billion imposed to fill the hole in the budget.

Government has staunchly defended the tax measures which confirm its policy shift from taxing income through the PAYE to the taxing of consumption through the imposition of General Consumption Tax (GCT) and Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on items such as motor vehicle fuels, alcohol and cigarettes.

But how have these tax measures impacted on the higher education sector?

In the absence of a detailed study on the costs of running a tertiary institution, it seems the recent tax measures will cause an increase in overall costs of running these operations. Some of the increased bills that will arise include:

Targeting Dreams: Higher Education And Student Loans (Pt 2)

Targeting Dreams: Higher Education And Student Loans (Pt 2)

July 23, 2017

Much of the record of failure related to student loan financing schemes is because of problems and limitations - some of which are peculiar to low-income or less industrialised countries - that seem, at least in the short run, to be intractable that is, not solvable simply with smarter policies or better execution. Other challenges may be amenable to alternative policies and/or practices. Among the most serious problems and limitations are the following:

  1. The high rates of unemployment and low-paying jobs in some countries among university graduates, making student loan repayments difficult (even with an otherwise well-conceived and well-administered loan programme).
  2. The pervasive belief that higher education is, or ought to be, a public entitlement, that is, paid for by everyone, even if only relatively few participate and benefit.
  3. The pervasive absence of trust, especially among students and potential student populations in many countries of government and of the university administrations.
  4. The low rate of savings and general scarcity of private capital. This limits the supply of student loans to whatever the Government can make available. This puts student lending in competition with alternative direct governmental outlays rather than with alternative investments.
  5. The absence of reliable and cost-effective systems for loan servicing and collecting. The design and implementation of student loan schemes can face bottlenecks along any one of the following dimensions: demand, funding and coverage, financial viability, and targeting.

A quality public sector engendered by quality training is critical to economic growth

A quality public sector engendered by quality training is critical to economic growth

March 25, 2018

There has been much debate recently about the need for the Jamaican government to reduce the public sector wage bill, which often translates into the need to cut the size of the Jamaican public sector.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is the main influencer of government policy over the last two administrations has repeated the importance of bringing the public sector wage bill under nine per cent of GDP from its current level of about 10 per cent.

The last several weeks have seen the trade unions representing public sector workers (teachers, nurses, police, civil servants etc.) battling with government over wage increases ranging from two to six per cent per annum.

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