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Jamaica to develop policy for Offshore Learning Institutions

KINGSTON – Jamaica’s attractiveness as a prime location for offshore universities has once again been highlighted with the scheduled opening of yet another tertiary facility in the island.

The World Institute of Medical Services, a new institution, has been granted a charter by the government, and is scheduled to invest some $640 million (US$10 million) to undertake its local operations.

During the State of the Nation Debate Friday, January 20, in the Senate Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman informed that the first class of Jamaican-based students attending the Institute would begin their studies when the school opened in September.

Other projects are currently being considered in the offshore university field, according to Mr. Whiteman, and a policy towards such institutions was to be finalised to ensure that transparent guidelines were put in place.

Elaborating further on educational initiatives that were being pursued or approved by the government, Senator Whiteman said the HEART Trust/NTA was in the process of implementing a full training and certification programme to meet a host of development projects, which the government was actively seeking to establish.

He explained that the development projects were expected to generate 16, 000 permanent direct jobs in tourism and create demand for a range of locally produced goods and services. This, in turn, he continued “will generate two or more times as many permanent, indirect jobs.”

“The investments in tourism will provide opportunities for linkages with several other sectors, such as agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing, professional and personal services, transportation and entertainment,” he noted.

The Information Minister explained that to date, the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) had facilitated initiatives for 150 local companies to establish business links with the investors in tourism.

For the 2005/06 legislative year he said, “it was important for us to work through several pieces of legislation, which were particularly important to the nation, and I am happy that we were able to do so, with the co-operation of the members on both sides and the support of the staff of the legislature and a large body of professionals from various Ministries and agencies.”

“It is our duty of course not only to pass legislation but to reflect on the progress of the nation, and I trust that we shall discharge that responsibility as well during the period of time remaining to us, and that we shall do so with the kind of clinical professionalism which will redound to the good name of the Senate and contribute to the national good,” Senator Whiteman said.

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