In Jamaica, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOE) in Kingston is responsible for overseeing education activities in the country. The official MOE website can be accessed here. The main organisations in charge of education at tertiary levels in Jamaica are the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) and the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (J-TEC). The University Council of Jamaica is responsible for accrediting and registering diplomas and degree programs offered at higher institutions in the country. The official website is https://www.ucj.org.jm/ while the J-TEC website can be accessed here. Several higher education institutions exist including universities, teacher training colleges and vocational training institutes. As at 2015, 75,000 students were enrolled at higher education institutions in Jamaica. The University of West Indies was the first higher education institution in Jamaica established in 1948.
At university level, students can be awarded Associate degrees for a two-year study programme and Bachelor’s degree for a three year study programme. However, there are other institutions like the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica which has a structured 2 + 2 degree system in which students earn an associate degree after two years and a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline after another two years of study. At postgraduate level, students can obtain Master’s and Doctorate degrees after a minimum of one year and three-year study period respectively. There are also postgraduate diplomas which is a one-year graduate program intended for further specialisation in professionally oriented disciplines.
Entry requirement for undergraduate courses at most universities is five CSEC passes. A Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited university in a subject or subjects relevant to the course applied for is the entry requirement for a Master’s degree course and a PhD degree programme requires applicants to be holders of Master’s degree in a relevant field of study.
The language of instruction and examination in Higher education institutions in Jamaica is Standard Jamaican English. For international Students, there is a language requirement for admission into universities. International students are expected to be proficient in English Language and where this is not the case, international students can take English language courses at the university.
Tuition fees at the University of West Indies for instance is classified based on the level and programme of study as well as the student’s country status. Students from contributing countries (Barbados Jamaica Trinidad & Tobago) pay an average of US$10,000(£7,684) to study at undergraduate levels while students from Non-Contributing countries pay an average of US$ 15,000(£11,526).