The International Education Market in Jamaica – April 2007

October 2008

Executive Summary

The rising demand worldwide for international education services is driven largely by the following global trends: more youth aspire to higher education; more jobs require highly skilled workers; higher per capita incomes enable higher discretionary spending on transnational education; and, more governments are recognizing the connection between a highly educated workforce and economic growth (Hosein 2004).

Although most Jamaicans (90%) are satisfied with the education their children receive in Jamaica’s public school system, (i.e. kindergarten through grade 12) some are willing to send their secondary school-aged children abroad to boarding school. This market segment holds little promise for Canadian providers of education services.

Almost half a million of Jamaica’s 2.7 million citizens are between the ages of 18 and 24; close to 17% of these young people attend a tertiary institution (Planning Institute of Jamaica 2005). The proportion of Jamaican youth seeking higher education has more than quadrupled since 1994, part of a global trend that is expected to continue. In 2004, the number of international students reached 2.5 million; by 2025, it is expected to reach 7.2 million. Australia, the United Kingdom and China are expanding their educational systems to meet this global appetite for international education.

With both regulatory and technological frameworks in place, Jamaica is a worthwhile market for Canadian providers of education services. Domestic Internet network services are expanding and new providers are coming on-line, which has in turn enabled more students to access education services, including part-time programs. Under the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), there are no trade barriers to the transnational delivery of education in Jamaica.

Almost 2,400 Jamaican university students studied abroad during the 2004-05 academic year; Canada accounted for just under 4% of this market. Most students (77.5%) opted to study in U.S. universities, while almost 19% chose the United Kingdom (Planning Institute of Jamaica 2005).

Canadian suppliers of transnational education programs and services are advised to focus their recruitment efforts at the tertiary level.


The international student population is growing. In 1999, the number of international students studying at the tertiary level worldwide had reached 1.7 million; in 2004, the number had risen to 2.5 million; by 2025, the student population at the tertiary level is expected to reach 7.2 million. Australia, the United Kingdom and China are striving to satisfy the growing worldwide demand for international education (Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada 2007).

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) includes provisions for the cross-border delivery of tertiary education among its 144 participants; and, as such governs the recruitment of students from Jamaica and the transnational delivery of education to Jamaican students. The signatories to the GATT have defined the following types of educational services:

  • those in which the service “travels” but the provider and the consumer remain at home, e.g. distance education, education software and virtual education institutions;
  • those supplied locally to the consumer by a foreign provider, e.g. satellite college campuses;
  • those supplied to a consumer in the territory of the provider; and,
  • those brought into a country by individuals, e.g. teachers, researchers and trainers (Hosein 2004).

A major issue for domestic policy makers and educators alike is the transferability of credits and the authenticity of diplomas being awarded to local students. While Jamaica has made an unconditional commitment to the existing terms of the GATT, it is the first country in the region to establish a regulatory framework – the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ). Established in 1987, the UCJ is a statutory body that aims to increase access among Jamaicans to tertiary level education by accrediting appropriate programs and courses.

With its own accreditation framework in place and its telecommunications network expanding, Jamaica affords some of the best opportunities in the region for Canadian exporters of education services.

Canadian universities provide educational services worth an estimated $16 billion,1 close to $3.5 billion of which derives from fees paid by international students. In 2006, some 70,000 full-time and 13 000 part-time international students were registered in Canadian educational institutions. International students represent 20% of Canada’s full time student population at the graduate level, and 7% of its undergraduate population.

Historically, Canada has recruited students from 10 countries: China, the United States, France, India, South Korea, Iran, Japan, Hong Kong (S.A.R.), Mexico and Pakistan which together account for 60% of Canada’s total international student body (Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada 2007).

Prospective students applying to institutions in Canada may face a number of hurdles, including visa requirements and immigration controls. Processing an application for a Canadian student visa can take up to two months; U.S. student visa wait times are shorter.

Student Recruitment


Some primary schools lack the facilities to deliver curricula effectively. Jamaica’s Ministry of Education and Youth also acknowledges that the number of available Advanced Level secondary school spaces is insufficient to meet demand, despite efforts to construct new schools and expand and refurbish existing ones.

One solution would be to create additional spaces in the two upper secondary school years which would take into account the geographic distribution of students (Wilson 2006).

A recent survey indicates that 92% of Jamaicans are satisfied with the quality of education their children receive in the K-12 years. On the other hand, Versan Educational Services, a local recruiter for foreign schools and colleges, reports that it has witnessed a resurgence of interest in both Canadian and U.S. boarding schools (Jamaica Observer 2007).

Nevertheless, student recruitment at the secondary level may not be sufficiently lucrative to warrant attention from Canadian education service providers.

Community College, Technical Institute and CEGEP

Community colleges, which are a relatively recent concept in Jamaica, provide general education, pre-university instruction in addition to training in “para” professional fields. They represent recruitment opportunities for Canadian universities and offer potential for joint diplomas and articulation with Canadian tertiary institutions.

The following eight community colleges operate in Jamaica:

  • Bethlehem Moravian College
  • Browns Town Community College
  • The College of Agriculture Science and Education (CASE)
  • Excelsior Community College
  • Knox College
  • Moneague College
  • Montego Bay Community College
  • Portmore Community College

Moneague College, Bethlehem and CASE, all multidisciplinary, are among Jamaica’s ten teacher training institutions. The majority (80%) of student teachers are female. Bethlehem, Excelsior and CASE all offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Studies. Montego Bay Community College offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Hospitality, Entertainment and Tourism Management and Management Information Systems (Planning Institute of Jamaica 2005).

There are more full-time students in all programs than part-time students and almost two thirds of community college students are female. Total enrolment at community colleges and teachers’ colleges combined approaches 49,000 students, two thirds of whom are female.

The Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE) and the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ) are responsible for the management of both types of institutions. Canadians providing education in Jamaica would be required to work with these two entities.

The JBTE was established by the University of the West Indies (UWI) to approve syllabi, conduct examinations, award certificates and make recommendations concerning teacher education.

The CCCJ is a statutory agency supervised by the Ministry of Education and Youth to co-ordinate the work of community colleges. It is responsible for standardizing curricular materials, procedures and regulations.

The Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) Trust provides technical and vocational training to the Jamaican workforce, including the construction, tourism and bauxite industries. Instruction is delivered through academies, school leavers training opportunities programs (SL-TOPs), apprenticeships, vocational training centres (VTCs), the Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI) and the Social Development Commission (SDC). Total enrolment increased 43%; Hospitality and Building Construction were the most popular programs.

Enrolment during the 2004-05 academic year in the National Council on Technical and Vocational Training (NCTVET) (a training institution) also increased substantially (36%), possibly due to the increased participation by technical high schools and C$211 million in funding by the Jamaican Government.

University (Undergraduate)

In the 2004-05 academic year, the Jamaican Government’s Ministry of Finance and Planning (Corporate Management and Development Branch, Scholarship and Assistance Unit) provided scholarships enabling 180 students to study overseas: 39 were offered for undergraduate studies; 17 for post-graduate; and the remainder were for short-term programs. Recipients pursued studies in the following fields: Management; Education; Engineering; Law; Social Sciences; Communications; and, Science and Technology.

The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada are the preferred destinations for Jamaican international students. For the 2004-05 academic year, the Embassy of the United States of America issued about 1,800 student visas to Jamaicans seeking entry to traditional four-year colleges and universities; some 440 students received permission to study in the United Kingdom; and the Canadian High Commission issued 90 student visas (education@canada 2007).

Nine of Jamaica’s fifty-two tertiary institutions are universities: one is regional, two are local and six are offshore facilities that have been granted licences to operate in Jamaica. Earning a baccalaureate degree typically requires four years of full-time study.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) is the only regional institution that serves the countries of the Caribbean Commonwealth: Anguilla, Antigua/Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Christopher-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

UWI’s faculties offer a wide range of programs at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels in Humanities and Education, Pure and Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, Engineering, Law, Medical Sciences and Social Sciences. For the 2003-04 academic year, students were mostly full-time and predominantly female (72%).

Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and the University of Technology (UTech) are both local universities. NCU offers 84 programs comprising 13 Certificate programs; 3 Diploma programs; 19 Associate degrees; 40 undergraduate programs, 7 master’s programs and 2 doctoral programs. Almost two thirds of the students attend full time; almost 80% are female (education@canada 2007).

At UTech, just over half the students attend full time, and a little over half are female. During the 2004-05 academic year, UTech became the first local university to join the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN); membership enabled UTech to deploy distance learning technologies and methods in its program development.

Students seeking admission to any of these three institutions must perform well on the Caribbean Secondary School Certificate Exams.

Between 2000 and 2004, the Jamaican Government’s annual contribution to tertiary education via tax revenues averaged $53 million. In 2004-05, this was increased to $113 million; the government provided an additional $15 million in scholarships to local institutions.

Students at the tertiary level are able to fund their studies through loans from the Student Loan Bureau. Each year, approximately 6,500 students apply to the Bureau for loans to pay their tuition fees. During the 2002-03 academic year, the Bureau disbursed a record $550 million in loans to over 7,000 students and an additional $80 million in grants (Ministry of Education and Youth 2004).

University (Postgraduate)

The global demand for postgraduate education is growing. Since 1990, the number of full-time jobs filled by postgraduates has increased from 55,000 to one million. 

As in Canada, universities in Jamaica are degree-granting institutions while the colleges offer vocational oriented programs which grant diplomas and/or certificates.

The duration of a typical master’s program in Jamaica spans 24 months of full-time study beyond the bachelor’s degree, or 36 months part-time; doctoral programs require 3 years of full-time study, or 5 years part-time, beyond the master’s degree. Each of the five faculties within the UWI offers postgraduate programs; UTech offers one master’s program.

Language Institute (ESL)

In Jamaica, English is the official language; it is also recognized as the international language of commerce, science and technology. Although most Jamaicans speak a dialect known as Jamaican Creole, the lack of orthography restricts its use within the formal educational system. English is therefore the language of instruction in the school system, and is offered as a major in baccalaureate programs.

UWI’s Jamaican Language Unit (known as Mona), part of the Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy, conducted a survey aimed at investigating perceptions about language prior to the introduction of bilingual education into Jamaica’s primary schools (grades one through four). The survey results revealed that individuals who spoke standard English were perceived as being more intelligent, more educated, more helpful and more honest than those who communicated using the local patois.

Language Institute (FSL)

French is not taught as part of the regular school curriculum in Jamaica at either the pre-primary or primary levels; however, French instruction is offered at some private preparatory schools. While both French and Spanish are offered as electives at the secondary level, most students choose Spanish.

Students who have successfully completed some secondary school courses in French may continue their French studies at the tertiary level. French is offered as a major at the UWI in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

The Alliance Française de la Jamaïque, a non-profit organization promoting the French language and culture, offers French language instruction and certification for both children and adults.

Transnational Delivery of Education and Training

Jamaica is a signatory to the General Agreement on Trade in Services which is administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO specifies four modes of trading in services which should be unrestricted between signatories to the agreement. One of these modes allows a company from one country to establish itself in another country in order to provide educational services. The agreement has fostered the development of offshore universities in Jamaica.

The transnational delivery of education in Jamaica occurs mainly at the tertiary level. Distance education technologies are used mainly by the UWI, UTech, and foreign universities.

Offshore Campuses

Articulation arrangements have been established between some regional and offshore-based tertiary institutions and local community colleges, teachers colleges and universities. To enable smooth transitions, these arrangements rely on the well-defined accreditation system provided by the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ). The UCJ has developed the Tertiary Qualifications Framework, a means of standardizing the academic and vocational qualifications required in the higher education sector. The framework defines the main criteria for qualifications required at each level and in each educational category. Emphasis is placed on the following programs: Education; Pure and Applied Sciences; Science and Agriculture; Engineering; Law; Medical Sciences; Social Sciences; and, Caribbean Issues.

The framework also facilitates the articulation of programs and the transfer of credits between institutions (Ministry of Education and Youth 2007). Articulation arrangements, including a few with Canada, facilitate access to higher education for students in different parts of the country. The UCJ recognizes three kinds of articulation arrangements:

  • Part of the university program is delivered at the college; graduates of the college portion are automatically admitted to the university;
  • Graduates of the college program are entitled to advanced placement with the university; and
  • Graduates of the college program are granted matriculation.

The following lists the nine offshore institutions that offer accredited degree programs in Jamaica:

Accredited Offshore Degree Programs in Jamaica

Eastern Connecticut State University / Hanover Education Foundation (U.S.)
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Applied Social Relations

Florida International University / Institute of Management Science (U.S.)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Manchester Business School / Jamaica Institute of Bankers (U.K.)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Mount Saint Vincent University / JACAE Canada
Bachelor of Education in association with St. Joseph’s Teacher’s College
Bachelor of Education in Association with the College of Agriculture, Science and Education
Master of Education in Studies in Lifelong learning (formerly Adult Education)
Master of Arts in Studies in Lifelong learning (formerly Adult Education)

Nova Southeastern University (U.S.)
Bachelor of Science in Professional Management
Bachelor of Science in Applied Professional Studies (concentration in Teaching and Learning)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Master of Science in Instructional Technology and Distance Education
Master of Science in Education (specializations in Teaching and Learning and Special Education) Doctorate in Education in Instructional Technology and Distance Education

Temple University / Church Teacher’s College (U.S.)
Bachelor of Science in Education

University of New Orleans (U.S.)
Master of Business Administration (Executive MBA)

University of South Florida / Shortwood Teacher’s College
Master of Early Childhood Education

Nova Scotia Agricultural College / CASE
Bachelor of Agricultural Technology, in partnership with the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) via the four-year Canadian College Partnership Program

Distance Education

Jamaica began delivering distance education in the 1980s through its University of the West Indies Distance Teaching Experiment (UWIDITE) program, which was offered by the UWI via audio conferences. During the 2001-02 academic year, more than 2,300 students were enrolled the program.

The development of Internet-based technologies in Jamaica has extended distance learning systems to a broader group of students; geographical location is no longer a deterrent to accessing higher education. With the advent of this practical and cost-effective alternative to standard classroom instruction, enrolment in distance education programs has risen.

All public and private higher education institutions in Jamaica have access to information and communications technologies (ICT). All of the institutions registered by the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) are equipped with Internet-enabled computer laboratories. The UCJ stipulates that computer facilities in registered institutions utilize the latest software, e.g. the most current version of Microsoft Office.

Females outnumber males in both full-time and part-time programs. While students typically attend public institutions for full-time studies, private institutions tend to offer mostly part-time programs. More part-time programs are being introduced to meet the needs of workers unable to attend school full-time.

The Canada Caribbean Distance Education Scholarship Programme (CCDESP) is an example of a successful collaboration between Canada and Jamaica in the field of education. The CCDESP enables students holding diplomas or associate degrees to upgrade their credentials to the university undergraduate level on a part-time basis. Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica are the regional countries involved in the program. The Canadian partner institutions comprise Athabasca University, which provides information technology programs in Jamaica; Memorial University of Newfoundland, which develops teacher education in Dominica and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and, Mount Saint Vincent University, which offers tourism management in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The CCDESP is managed by Vancouver-based Commonwealth of Learning and receives substantial funding from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT).

The University of the West Indies (UWI) is a full partner in the CCDESP, contributing local knowledge, experience and infrastructure aimed at enriching the learning experience.

Education System

The Jamaican education system is based on the British system and, as such, shares some characteristics with the Canadian education system. As in Canada, the school year in Jamaica begins in September and ends in June; the academic year includes ten public holidays. In Jamaica, kindergarten through grade 12 is publicly funded as it is in Canada. Students in Jamaica proceed through the following four levels:

  • Early childhood/pre-primary (ages 3-6);
  • Primary (ages 6-11);
  • Secondary 1 (ages 12-16 years); secondary 2 (ages 16-18 years) offered at some schools for students who have successfully completed secondary 1; and,
  • Tertiary.

The education system also includes adult education centres and special education schools for students with cognitive, physical and emotional needs.

About 22,000 teachers are employed in 1,000 public institutions in Jamaica. Most teachers (83%) are graduates of teacher training colleges; an additional 4% hold a university degree but have no formal teacher training. Only 20% of teachers hold both a university degree and a teaching diploma (Planning Institute of Jamaica 2005).

Pre-primary and primary education is compulsory and fully subsidized, and in some cases provided in partnership with churches and trusts. Jamaica is a mostly Christian country comprising equal numbers of Anglicans, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Methodists, members of the United Church of Christ and Pentecostals. The main religion within the Chinese, Lebanese and East Indian communities is Roman Catholicism. Some 800,000 students from early childhood to the tertiary level are enrolled in Jamaica’s public and private schools. In the 2004-05 academic year, about 460,000 students were enrolled at the pre-primary and primary levels; enrollment is traditionally high (97%) at this level, but falls to 78% towards the end of secondary level 1.

Both Jamaican and Canadian systems offer academic and vocational curricula at the secondary level; students have the choice of courses that lead to university, college or to the work force following additional vocational training.

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has developed 50 syllabi, 19 at the basic proficiency level, 33 at the general proficiency level and 3 at the technical proficiency level. The Council offers examinations in all syllabi between May and June. Since 1998, a passing grade of “3” has been set for matriculation to tertiary level institutions (Carson 2002). After five years of secondary school, Jamaican students must undergo examinations in the five CXC subjects, which include mathematics and English, and must obtain a passing grade in each before being admitted to grade 12.

To be admitted to the University of the West Indies (UWI), students must take Advanced Level subjects. The Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) facilitates access to further study or entry to the labour market. In 2005, more than 87% of students were granted university admission. Students performed best in Caribbean Studies, Computer Science, Spanish, Communication Studies and Food and Nutrition (Planning Institute of Jamaica 2005).

Jamaica’s universities also facilitate non-traditional admission using such criteria as experiential learning and portfolio assessment (Ministry of Education and Youth 2004). Certain community colleges offer introductory courses for the UWI and UTech, which have expanded their offsite campuses to strategic locations to increase accessibility to their programs.

The responsibility for improving the quality, equity and access to public education lies with Jamaica’s Ministry of Education and Youth, which is headquartered in Kingston and manages six regional offices. The Ministry provides financial assistance to students whose parents are unable to contribute. A number of privately operated, fee-based primary level institutions (preparatory schools) are also registered with the Ministry of Education. These schools are regulated by the Ministry to ensure that all children benefit from a high-quality education that conforms to national standards. Preparatory schools benefit from government subsidies for teachers’ salaries, class materials, and school meals.

At the secondary level, funding for capital costs derives from fees charged to students under a cost-sharing program introduced in 1994, as well as from fund raising. Cost sharing has enabled the purchase of additional instructional materials and equipment.

Females are outperforming males at every level of the system; to encourage more young males to stay in school, both genders are now presented with a common curriculum, rather than one that has been separated into male-oriented or female-oriented subjects.

The Jamaican Government’s current annual education budget is approximately $37 million. The Government also absorbs 80% of the cost of education at the tertiary level.

The Ministry has introduced the following projects to correct disparities in the vocational education system:

  • Technical and Vocational Rationalization Project: provides students with well-equipped laboratories and workshops;
  • Work Experience Program: provides students in technical and vocational schools with on-the-job training under the supervision of qualified individuals; and
  • High School Equivalency Program: gives individuals who were not able to complete their high school education an opportunity to achieve certification through a program of self-instruction.

In light of the high demand for teachers with competencies in mathematics, science, information technology and foreign languages, the Ministry has been awarding scholarships to teachers wishing to earn a first degree in these subject areas. The program, which allows a teacher to continue teaching while studying, is delivered via distance education by the UWI (Ministry of Education and Youth 2004).

Total household spending on education is estimated at $311 million. (A large portion of the education budget for primary school-aged children in a typical Jamaican household is spent on food, followed by uniforms, transportation and extracurricular lessons.)

Relevant legislation pertaining to Jamaica’s education system is listed in the 2007 publication, National Taskforce on Education, published by the Ministry of Education and Youth. (See the Bibliography.)

Market Environment

Jamaica is a democratic country with a population approaching 2.7 million, whose economy is increasingly influenced by the reduction of state-owned enterprises and the expansion of the private sector. Indeed, since the first quarter of 2006, the Jamaican economy has grown significantly (an unprecedented 3% in 2006) in concert with a steady rise in the production of goods and services. Investments in the transportation and utility infrastructure and gains in the tourism, mining, and service sectors have all contributed to GDP growth. In 2006, the rate of inflation declined 6%, and the unemployment rate fell to 9%. Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine are Jamaica’s most heavily populated urban centres.

The inputs to Jamaica’s GDP comprise services (65% of GDP); manufacturing and mining (28%); and agriculture (7%). The agriculture sector employs almost one fifth of Jamaica’s workforce.

The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) encourages foreign investment in areas that earn or preserve foreign currency, generate employment, and utilize local raw materials. The Government has also adopted a program of fiscal consolidation, seeking to contain inflation, accelerate GDP growth, reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio and stabilize the economy. Between 2004 and 2005, overall spending on education increased 20%; in Kingston and the Metropolitan area education spending increased 64%.

In terms of education, the sharp socioeconomic divide between rural and urban populations is a contributor to poor performance at the upper-secondary level. One half of the Jamaican population lives in rural areas; half of these citizens account for nearly 80% of Jamaica’s poor, who tend to be concentrated in the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Mary, Westmoreland and St. Ann.

Technology Profile

According to Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI), which is responsible for fostering investment in Jamaica, the all-digital telecommunications network provided by Cable and Wireless Jamaica is among the region’s most robust and highest capacity telecom backbones. Jamaica’s 21 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are regulated by Jamaica’s Telecommunications Act which promotes competition and innovation.

In its “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy”, the Ministry of Education and Youth outlines its intention to leverage Jamaica’s capacity in the field of information and communications technologies (ICT) in the following ways:

  • equip all education and training institutions with Internet-enabled computers;
  • design and implement ICT-based curricula and course materials; and
  • create opportunities for all learners (teachers and students alike) to acquire ICT skills.

Funding to implement the policy derives from the “universal service obligation” levy charged to telecommunications carriers by the Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce (MITEC). The MITEC will use the proceeds from the levy to promote the use of technology in education and to meet the rising demand for Internet and data-related services.

University Council of Jamaica Accreditation Process

The University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) ( is the statutory body responsible for the accreditation of institutions, courses and programs to determine whether they can be recognized and accepted by Jamaican universities. The UCJ currently falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Youth. The UCJ adheres to the following accreditation process:

Application and Self Study

A registered institution seeking accreditation must first submit an application to the UCJ and then conduct a self-study. The self-study is a thorough and formal evaluation by the institution of its strengths and weaknesses, and the manner in which it intends to capitalize on its strengths and minimize its weaknesses. This part of the process is intended to assist in institutional planning and development.

The institution submits the completed application form detailing the philosophy and structure of its program; the method of assessment; learning resources; staffing; admission requirements and selection procedures; analysis of intake and destination of graduates. This is accompanied by (i) required supplementary information such as syllabi, examination papers, booklists, timetable and samples projects; and (ii) the institutional self-study.

Processing by the UCJ

The UCJ reviews the material supplied by the institution to verify completeness of application submissions in order to determine if the institution is a candidate for accreditation. The UCJ then sets a date for a site visit that is acceptable to all parties.

Team Selection

The UCJ selects a team of professionals who will visit the institution and evaluate the proposed program. The evaluation team is usually drawn from professional educators and practicing professionals chosen for their competence in fields relevant to the program being evaluated.

The institution is informed of the names of the team members to avoid any conflict of interest. While the Council reserves the right to make the final choice, the institution may inform the Council of any concerns it may have about the composition of the team.

Site Visit

The evaluation team conducts a visit to the institution which comprises (i) a series of interviews with administration, faculty, students, graduates and employers of graduates from the program, and any other relevant stakeholders, (ii) an inspection of the institution’s facilities, e.g. lecture rooms, library, laboratories, computer facilities, and recreational equipment. The team may also observe classes in session.

Evaluation Report and Response from the Institution

Following the visit, the evaluation team prepares a report, which summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the institution and offers recommendations.

A copy of the report is sent to the Principal/President of the institution who is invited to submit to the UCJ a written response to the comments and recommendations.


The team’s report and the institution’s response are each reviewed by the UCJ’s Accreditation, Curriculum and Development Committee, which makes recommendations to the Council regarding accreditation of the institution.


The Council makes the final decision at its next sitting and informs the institution in writing of this decision, stating the conditions for accreditation (University Council of Jamaica 2007).

Market Entry Considerations

Canadian providers of educational products and services are advised to seek assistance from agencies when recruiting Jamaican students. Versan Educational Services, a local firm, has been assisting Jamaican students apply to boarding schools and colleges, and for scholarships, since the mid-1990s. Versan tours and evaluates facilities in order to provide clients with up-to-date and comprehensive recommendations (Jamaica Observer 2007).

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) administers more than 150 scholarships, fellowships and internship programs on behalf of its members (Foreign Affairs and International trade Canada 2007).

Canadian companies operating in Jamaica fall into three main categories: those that provide equipment and software; those that provide services; and consultants.

Perhaps the most visible Canadian business in Jamaica is the Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica Limited (Scotiabank Jamaica), a subsidiary of the Bank of Nova Scotia. Scotiabank Jamaica has offered retail and commercial banking services through a network of 45 branches in Jamaica since 1889. The bank is active at the primary and secondary education levels in Jamaica.

First Caribbean Bank, part of the CIBC Group, provides a full range of financial products and services to Jamaican clients.

Although based offshore, the following companies are representative of commercial enterprises in Jamaica. Their services suggest a need for corporate training in these areas for Jamaican nationals:

  • Viamar Scilla Transport Intl. Inc. provides transportation services for heavy equipment (e.g. bulldozers, graders, and other road-building machinery) from Toronto to Kingston, Jamaica.
  • Anthony Macauley Associates creates and implements software product solutions for government agencies, and has done work for: the National Lands Agency, the National Environmental Protection Agency and the Management Institute for National Development (MIND).
  • The Airborne Sensing Corporation has been involved in various local aerial survey projects since 1981.
  • Raytheon Canada Waterloo has provided Jamaica with air traffic control equipment (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada 2007).

Competitive Environment

There are many private institutions, both local and offshore, operating in Jamaica which represent direct competition for potential Canadian institutions.

The University College of the Caribbean (UCC) offers professional training in business-related courses such as Management Studies, Business Administration, Management Information Systems, Accounting, and Human Resource Management. UCC offers 16 diplomas, 3 associate degrees, and 3 bachelor’s degrees. In addition, the UCC offers nine programs (at both the baccalaureate and master’s levels) in association with the Florida International University, the University of South Florida and the University of London.

The UCC plans to provide its Associates in Science and Bachelors in Science degrees through its Distance Education and Global Learning program.

The B and B University College offers six business related programs:

  • Diploma in Business Administration;
  • Certificate in Management Studies;
  • Certificate in Public Administration;
  • The Certified Administrative Professionals (CAP);
  • Association of Accounting Technician (AAT); and
  • Professional Secretary Certificate (CPS).

B and B offers bachelor’s degrees in Management and in Business in collaboration with Heriot-Watt University in the United Kingdom. For the 2004-05 academic year, 287 students were enrolled (94% female).

The University of New Orleans offers the executive MBA program and has 56 students enrolled (62% female).

The College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) is Jamaica’s only agricultural training institution. After forming a partnership with the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC), CASE extended its basic practical and theoretical curriculum to include managerial, entrepreneurial and conceptual skills training.

The ability to deliver these programs on a part-time basis via distance education is also being developed so agricultural extension officers can access skills upgrading opportunities.


Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Trends in Higher Education Vol. I. Accessed from 3 in May 2007.

Carson, Beverly and Janet Quallo. ROSE II Report 2002.

education@canada International Gateway to Education in Canada. April 18, 2007.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Canadian Companies Capabilities. Accessed from in April 2007.

Hosein, Roger, Tommy Chen and Reanti Singh. The International Supply of Tertiary Education and Services Trade Negotiations: Implications for CARICOM. October 25, 2004.

Jamaica. Ministry of Education and Youth. National Report on Higher Education 2004.

  • The Development of Education: National Report of Jamaica. August 15, 2005.
  • National Taskforce on Education. Accessed from on April 12, 2007.
  • Wilson Maxine. Minister of Education and Youth. Contribution to 2006-07 parliamentary Sectoral Debate.

Jamaica Observer. May 9, 2007.

Planning Institute of Jamaica and Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions 2005. pg 2.2.

Planning Institute of Jamaica. The Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica. Kingston 2005.

STATIN. Demographic Statistics 2005.

University Council of Jamaica. Accreditation. Accessed from on May 13, 2007.

Prepared by the Canadian High Commission in Jamaica
Fax: (011-876) 511-3491

Education market reports are available from Edu-Canada:

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1 All monetary amounts are expressed in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise indicated. The conversion to Canadian dollars is based on Bank of Canada rates.

NOTE: This is a repost of the original report made by the Government of Canada and is meant to be information shared only with the members of Caribbean Entrepreneurs Association Online (CEAO).

The Caribbean Entrepreneurs Association Online (CEAO) assumes no liability for the accuracy and reliability of the market information and intelligence provided herein.

D.R. Ramsundar