Distance Learning in Jamaica and the Caribbean

What’s the best way to learn and study when you live in a region of the world made up of 41 different islands? For many people living in the Caribbean, distance learning is the method of choice when deciding to pursue higher education. Many also prefer to go abroad to study. With the continuous advances in information technology, students can now learn from anywhere with an internet connection and are increasingly choosing to study remotely to limit costs.

Jamaica is one of the biggest proponents of distance learning. As then Secretary of Education, Hon Andrew Holness said last year that online learning “will be the choice of many more students to achieve tertiary education in the future”.

The subjects English and Mathematics are preferred by the students as there are few limitations in these areas. For more practical subjects such as engineering or science subjects, the concept of distance learning is somewhat questionable. Companies have recently supported this trend by recognizing distance learning degrees as a reasonable foundation in certain subjects.

The number of ways students can now learn online and the variety of tools available to them continues to grow. From online presentations, e-books, and interactive lessons, students arguably have access to everything they would at a “normal” university. Online universities are now able to provide a wealth of facilities for students that were not available just five years ago.

In Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, some of the world’s best-known distance learning institutions are providing a launch pad to take online learning to higher heights in the Caribbean. Jamaican Universities have the necessary accreditation to attract students looking for credible degrees as accreditation is always preferable for companies looking for employees. Jamaican universities now offer a range of certificates, diplomas and degree programs in a variety of disciplines – including arts and culture, architecture and sculpture, science and technology, commerce and management, entertainment and enlightenment.

Certain institutions such as Utech are considered specialists in their field. The focus on a specific area means that certain institutions are seen as an obvious choice for individuals looking to advance their careers.

“The popularity of distance learning courses in Jamaica is due to the global recognition of quality. distance learning very helpful not only for students and young people looking for a job, but also for professionals or young professionals,” says a distance learning graduate who has just completed her bachelor’s degree in English.

The continuous updating of educational information technology will make future distance learning courses more flexible and allow a greater number of subjects to be studied successfully from home or other internet-connected locations. Students in Jamaica should look forward to a positive future learning experience as they begin to be seen as a real force in the distance learning world.

Thanks to Claire C Williams

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