The Institute hosted its fifteenth commencement ceremony on December 11th at the Knutsford Court Hotel. Commencement speaker for the evening was Mr. Silburn Clarke; President of the Jamaica Computer Society and CEO of Spatial Innovision Limited.
Fifty four students graduated from the Institute as part of the graduating class of 2011; joining the growing ranks of ICT professionals in Jamaica. Of this number, ten students made up the charter programme of the Bachelor of Science in Technology Management and the Bachelor Of Science in Information and Communication Technology. The graduating class also included individuals from the Certificate, Diploma and Associate Degree in Computer System Technology programmes. Additionally, there were 53 completers of the Cisco CCNA and FOA Fiber Optic Certification programmes.
As is customary, Dr. Marr, Executive Chairman of the Institute welcomed the gathering and gave a brief account of the achievements and plans of the Institute. He noted that the submission for renewal of the accreditation for the Associate degree programme, and the initial accreditation of the two new Bachelor programmes was made to the University Council Of Jamaica; and that the institute was now preparing for the upcoming accreditation visit. In terms of new programmes, he noted that the Diploma and the Associate Degree in Computer Programming will be offered, commencing in 2012, with the first cohort starting in January. He stated that:
The programmes have been designed to produce individuals who can write software programs for business applications, ecommerce, gaming, mobile applications, and more. They are designed to be at the cutting edge of technology, while utilizing the latest platforms and languages.
Dr. Marr also announced that development work has been completed on the Solar Technology Certification Course and which has gained international approval through the Electronic Technicians Association. He noted that the construction of the learning platform, including the installation of the solar panels and electronic equipment were completed; a pilot of the course was successfully run, and the participants were preparing for the internal and external certification exams. This course will be publicly launched in January 2012.
Dr. Marr stated that the Institute was committed to the strategy of industry relevance through strategic curriculum alignment with the curriculum of internationally recognized industry standard certifications. Students were being encouraged to take advantage of this alignment by sitting the associated certifications during the pursuit of their degrees. He gave the example where a student completing the Bachelor of Science in Information & Communication Technology would sit the following certification exams: the COMPTIA certifications in A+, Network+, Linux+, Security + and Project+; the Cisco CCNA certification, the Fiber Optic Association CFOT certification; the CWNP Wireless Network Administrator certification and the Electronic Technicians Association’s certification in Electronics and Customer Service. This means that a BSICT student could easily graduate not only with their Bachelor’s degree, but with 10 internationally recognized industry certifications.
In terms of the near future, Dr. Marr announced that Vector will be making material steps in expanding through extension campuses island-wide and expanding its online courses.
During 2012, Dr. Marr stated that the Institute expects to announce the articulation of the BSTM programme with a MBA programme in Technology Management through a North American University. He is also hopeful that current initiatives will result in articulation agreements with local Colleges and Universities to allow more seamless exchange and transfer of credits across courses in similar academic programmes. Vector has also started initiatives that will allow the sharing of resources among the libraries of several local organizations and colleges, providing students greater access to research material and other library resources.
Finally, he addressed the need to provide the environment for more holistic student life programmes that allow opportunities for social interaction and networking. One of the initiatives started recently was the Chess Club which for its first meetings was addressed by National Grand Master, Godfrey Byfield. Other initiatives in 2012, will be the preparation of facilities at the Eastwood Park campus for playing Table Tennis and other activities in encouraging a greater level of social interaction and networking among the student body.
The chairman encouraged the graduates not to forget their alma mater by becoming part of the alumni association in assisting the growth and development of the Institute. He suggested that Colleges and Universities with an active alumni, typically exhibit a greater level of performance in academics, sports and the arts. He reminded them that the value of their diplomas and degrees was inescapably tied to the success of the Institution. There are numerous ways, he suggested, in which graduates could help. These include planning and participating in forums, assist in developing college life programs such as clubs, associations, planning networking activities and events, development of a job bank, participate in career talks, participate in events to give back to our community, etc.
Mr. Silburn Clarke, President of the Jamaica Computer Society congratulated the students for making the transition from grandaunts to graduates. The transition, he suggested, not only marked a rite of passage, but demonstrated a major leap in Jamaica’s academic landscape.
Mr. Clarke stated that the achievement of the students is evidence that ambition, passion, hard work, tenacity and perseverance bring rich dividends. He explained that this achievement will only open their appetite for continued learning and further achievement.
In his main address, Mr. Clake lamented that although the Jamaican Private Investor has been ranked alongside the countries of the Asian Tigers; the capacity to innovate ranks as low as 95th of 125 countries; based on findings of the Global Innovation index. The solution to this situation, he suggested, is for Jamaica to move from a culture of simply being users of the technology of others, and instead, build our local capacity to innovate.
He explained that sustained competitive advantage could only be achieved where value gained though the knowledge of the technology is exploited through divergent thinking. He challenged the graduates to not only become users of acquired technology, but to develop a layer of local technology through insight and understanding to compete. He explained that ICT has leveled the global playing field, removing the traditional obstacles, hence competitive advantage lies only in our ability to innovate through creative and divergent thinking. Instead of asking why; ask why not?
He invited students to make the Jamaica Computer Society their professional home, and join the Society in its effort to transform Jamaica to a more innovative society.
Valedictorian, Miss Donna Levy gave the charge to the graduates. The list of the 2011 Top Of The Class awardees included;
The special honour for outstanding lecturer was made to Mr. Andrew McCalmon who was receiving the award for the 6th time.
Programme Co-ordinator / Campus Administrator