Mr. Chairman, the chairman of the JTS Board of Governors Linroy Marshall, other members of the Board of Governors, the Minister of Education who will deliver the graduation address today, Senator the Honorable Ruel Reid, Vice President Dr. Winston Thomspon and academic dean Dr. Margaret Barnett, specially invited guest, representatives of the University Council of Jamaica, Colleague Ministers and heads of institutions, members of faculty and staff, members of the class of 2018, parents spouses, guardians well-wishers and friends, ladies and gentlemen:
A hearty welcome to all of you today, I welcome the Minister of education who will deliver the important address to the class of 2018. We welcome Minister Senator Ruel Reid as a member of the Mona Chapel of the Christian Brethren Assemblies, he is the well-known voice on their Sunday Morning radio programme, Look at Life. Minister is also a former principal of Jamaica College, and he is currently the Minister of Education Youth and Information. Later on his further and better particulars will given by way of a formal introduction. It is however necessary for me to share with you the importance that we are attaching to the Minister’s presence today.
The MOE is a vital partner to this institution. Over the last four years we have partnered with MOE secondary high schools that have conduct and performance issues with a programme called the PBIS. Altogether 72 schools have benefited from our retraining of academic and administrative staff in the canons of this programme. The impact has been threefold in keeping with our objectives, it has improved conduct, so that students can be their best, we have also laid the foundation for the performance of students to improve so that students can do their best. Thirdly we have focused and creating a positive school culture so that schools can be the best. The programme arises from our Behaviour Analyst training that we provide here at JTS. We look forward to continued partnership in this regard especially as it relates to under performing institutions with conduct issues.
We have also partnered with the MOE with Career Advancement Programme, CAP. We have trained 150 students in this programme and have achieved results of greater than 80% passes. We are looking forward to two other partnerships with the MOE and while do not wish to preempt the Minister, we hold them in great importance. One of them is the Centre for Occupational Studies Programme in which students who could otherwise do CAPE but for whom there is no space at the secondary level can enroll in these associate degree programme for which the MOE will bear the cost. We are looking forward to a role in implementing this programme.
The MOE is also seeking to develop a dual enrollment programme, about which our Vice President has some particular experience and we look forward to participating in that programme when it comes on stream. So Minister feel welcome and we look forward to your address but more importantly to an ongoing partnership with the MOE under your watch.
We welcome new faculty members and we welcome our newest addition to the JTS Board of Governors, Mr. Lloyd Richardson, who is the manager of the NCB constant spring Road branch and our banker. We thank outgoing Board Member Mrs. Sonia Beaton Bogle who has indicated that she intends to demit office as a member of the Board.
JTS has come to an important cross roads. It has come to the point where it has adopted a new name and a new mandate and has begun to take steps in that direction. In January 2018 the Board of JTS has voted to formally changed the name to the Trans-Caribbean University College. This name is to give effect to its mission to transcend expectations, transform lives and transmit values. The TCUC will expand the number of programme, commencing in August 2018, it will add a Masters of Arts in Forensic Psychology, a Masters of Social Word and a Master of Theological Studies in Chaplaincy, these will be added to the already existing programmes at the graduate level of a Master of Arts in Bible and a Master of Arts in Public Theology. In addition there will be 6 additional Bachelor of Arts and Applied Science degrees. Certificates in conflict resolution and graphic design will be added to Associates of Science in Business Administration degrees. There will be a maximum of seven COS Associate Degrees in partnership with the MOE.
Towards this end JTS will commence and complete the application process from with the UCJ in September 2018 to January 2019. The application will be first for the JTS to attain University College status and the second will be that TCUC be granted institutional accreditation. The implications for all of these are seminal. We will retain the name JTS as the school of bible and theology within the University College. We will continue the building construction process and appropriately retrofit the campus. We intend to take our place as a beach head to Latin America the Caribbean and the motherland of Africa as a multi-disciplinary institution creating new knowledge and producing a cadre of persons who communicate effectively, think critically, think and act ethically, serve compassionately, perform competently and who can think globally and act locally.
We welcome the class of 2018: I want to point you to Isaiah’s vision of the new thing that God is doing in the world by making streams in the desert. The desert with a place condemned by its geography to be inhospitable and unpromising. It was located politically between the place of exile and their erstwhile home in the land of promise. It was the kind of space in economic and social terms that put a block on one’s imagination because it demanded too much, much more than their resources could afford. Streams in the desert is about reversal of the odds, it is a determination and hope it is about imagination and courage. It is about imagining the future and taking the future that one imagines by the scruff of its neck. The world has all kinds of reason for you to surrender, for you to give up, to fail to become turned in upon yourself in welcoming I charge to use your training, learning and your formation to defy the odds, to imagine to act to believe and to do. Go and create streams in the desert among under-served communities among communities of the left out and the left behind, go light your world and make it a better place for you and for me and the whole human race.