College Credits on High School Campuses

Since September 2018, the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) has embarked on a major partnership with the Ministry Of Education Youth and Information (MOEYI) to offer a range of associate degree programmes on the campuses of several High Schools throughout Jamaica. The main aim of this initiative has been to fast track students in receiving college credits to pursue higher level education as well as empowering and equipping them with marketable occupational skills. 

The Early College and Advanced Placement High School Programme (ECAP) was officially launched in January, 2018 at the UCC’s Main Campus in Kingston, where the Honourable Minister of Education, Senator Ruel Reid was keynote speaker.

Secondary School Selection Process
UCC has identified an average of five (5) centrally located high schools which form clusters in each of ten (10) parishes, to serve as non-campus bases for the University. UCC currently operates from a number of Host institutions across the island.  

UCC’s Online Support
Students have also been benefitting from complimentary access to Online, On-Demand Video Courses available from UCC’s US educational technology partners - Coursera, Edex and Udemy - via the University’s website.

These courses are taught by faculty members from several major US universities. This programme component provides flexible online support and enriches the student educational experience, as they pursue their Associate Degrees.

Associate Degrees Available
As indicated above, the ECAP programme is currently being offered on the campuses of several selected host high schools across the island with several hundreds of students already pursuing studies in various fields. Other highly recommended high schools are now being invited to partner with the ECAP initiative for programmes to start in September 2019. 

Programmes available include the UCC Associate Degrees, in Business Administration, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Information Technology as well as the Occupational Associate Degrees (OADs), designed and developed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI), with the goal of completion by Grade 13.  

The Occupational Associate Degrees (OADs) available are in the areas of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Business Process Outsourcing, Retail & Merchandising Operations, Construction Site Management, Restaurant Operations & Agro Processing among several others. The MOEYI currently provides full tuition scholarships for a limited number of CAP Level 2 graduates from selected host schools to pursue the 2-year OAD programmes.

This initiative is also in keeping with the articulated policy of the Honourable Minister of Education, Youth and Information, who seeks to ensure that all secondary school graduates have an opportunity to earn an Associate Degree by the time Grade 13 is completed.

Scholarships/Student Loans
The UCC provides a 70% tuition scholarship each year sponsored by the UCC Foundation US Inc. for all successful applicants who are accepted into such UCC Associate Degree programmes, while also offering the Occupational Degrees mentioned at the selected outreach locations. The University first begun offering Occupational Associate Degrees in 2017 in Kingston, which are fully funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information providing the student meets the scholarship matriculation .

We are also pleased to advise that as a result of a formal agreement executed between the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean and the Student Loan Bureau (SLB), in early 2017, registered UCC students of this outreach initiative can also now access financial assistance for the full duration of their programmes of study.

Infrastructure Development Credits
This partnership also adds value to participating secondary schools, which would benefit from an infrastructure development credit, consisting of up to 10% of all first year tuition payments made by students graduating from their schools, once they have matriculated into the UCC Associate Degree programme.

Corporate Internships
Students and graduates of the UCC’s Associate and Occupational Degrees will benefit from local commercial and industrial linkages, which will allow them to gain hands-on experience in a variety of ways, as well as the potential for employment following graduation. This will create a workforce pipeline that will be very attractive to corporate Jamaica.

It is our expectation that our partner corporations will mentor and provide internships for students seeking needed Associate Degrees, so that when they graduate, they are ideal candidates to fill critical workforce positions. They will, therefore, provide a hiring advantage to graduates who successfully complete this programme, compared with other applicants.

Faculty Selection
For quality assurance purposes, the UCC’s adjunct faculty who teach in the UCC Associate Degree Programmes, are carefully vetted by the University, applying the standards of the University Council of Jamaica, our local accreditation body.

Summer School Academy/Advanced Placement Programme
The UCC will also be offering access to its Advanced Placement (AP) Programme through its annual Summer School Academy.

This innovative programme allows achievement-oriented students, with a GPA >3.0, to enrol in introductory University courses during the summers (6 credits/summer), after completing Grades 10 and 11 - after CXC and prior to beginning Sixth Form (Grade 12). Credits earned from successfully completing these introductory University courses, will therefore be credited towards their advanced standing at UCC, by means of credit transfer.

Banked University Credits
University credits completed by students during the summer school academy, whilst also pursuing CXC subjects during the normal academic year, cannot be applied to the selected degree program, until after secondary school graduation. In effect, this means that students have two summer sessions in which to enrol in up to four introductory UCC courses, and would “bank‟ earned credits, until it is possible for them to be admitted into an appropriate UCC degree programme.

Memorandum of Understanding
To date, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed with scores of selected host schools, which also benefit from the infrastructure development credit mentioned above. 

UCC Regional Campus Option
Additionally, high school students beginning in Grade 12 will also have the option to pursue their UCC accredited Associate Degree or the MOEYI Occupational Associate Degree at a UCC Regional Campus in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, May Pen or Mandeville.

Advanced Placement in UCC’s or FIU’s Upper Level Bachelor Degree Programmes
Successful graduates of this programme who wish to pursue further studies, will have the opportunity for advanced placement into either the UCC’s Bachelor Degree programmes in Kingston, or at a Regional Campus, or the Florida International University (FIU) Bachelor Degree programmes to be offered in Jamaica through the UCC. The UCC has sponsored and facilitated several FIU undergraduate and graduate degree programmes locally during the past twenty years.

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