The Montego Bay Community College, the only multi-disciplinary public tertiary institution in western Jamaica, has been ably addressing the educational needs of thousands of young bright minds in the parishes of St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland and Trelawny over the last 35years.
Described as the "university college" of western Jamaica, the institution has chalked up an enviable record of academic excellence over the last three decades.
The Montego Bay Community College open its doors in September of 1975 as an amalgamation of the sixth forms of Cornwall College, Montego Bay High and Mount Alvernia High schools.
It was born out of the vision of the then Minister of Education and Governor General of Jamaica, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke.
The first principal appointed to the fledgling institution was Olive Lewis and first Board Chairman was Bishop Neville DeSouza.
Present principal is Dr. Angella Samuels. She has been credited with establishing a Senior's Learning Institute for adults 55 years and over; developing a new strategic plan for the institution; building additional classrooms, offices and students' rest rooms; procuring scholarships for students coming from non-traditional high schools; introducing mathematics camps and workshops for teachers; establishing the college's first outreach campus at Frome in Westmoreland and the introduction of a number of degree programmes.
With a student population of over 1,500 and a staff complement of 53 - in addition to a host of part-time lecturers, the college offers a wide range of educational programmes.
These include certificate courses in food and beverage and cosmetology; associate degrees in hospitality, entertainment and tourism; modular computer studies; clothing and fashion design; architecture and building studies; industrial systems, operations and maintenance, which, according to Dr. Samuels, is designed specifically for young men.
The college also partners with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Technology (UTECH) to offer diploma courses in engineering; pre- engineering certificate; hotel and tourism management course; and the preliminary science programme, where students go straight into the natural sciences faculty at the UWI after successfully completing their first year at the community college.
The institution also offers five bachelors degree programmes, three of which are done in collaboration with the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica. Those are in the areas of hospitality, entertainment and tourism management; information systems and business studies.
Also offered are degree courses in environmental studies, agricultural production and food systems management as well as courses in interior decorating, computer graphics, drapery making and basic Spanish, among others.
JIS, Article by Glenis A Rose (11/2004)
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