Higher Education Value for Money or simply ‘Big Business’ An Avalanche is coming

Veronica writes

‘AN AVALANCHE IS COMING’ claims Donnelly, Barber and Rizvi (2013) That will sweep way the system of higher education as we now know it unless the necessary adjustments are made in the required time frame. Donnelly, Barber and Rizvi (2013) posits that if the parties concerned act boldly now the next 50 ( fifty ) years could be a golden era for higher education but if they do not act in required time frame -higher education system as we know it will have been swept away by the avalanche of changes heightened by globalization.

What is education? What qualities should anyone look for in an educated man? Allan Bloom the philosopher said of education ‘ it is the movement from darkness to light’ Education can be viewed as action or the process of the acquisition of knowledge and the ensuing development resulting from this process. Education is not, however, the same as training, even though training may be one of the ingredients of education. A person who has been taught to repair a car or play football can be said to have received training, but such training is not education. Likewise, learning is a necessary ingredient of education, not all forms of learning lead to education Animals can be trained but they lack the intelligence that according to Mohanan, (2010) is essential for the kind of learning that makes a person educated An educated person, therefore, is one who has undergone a process of learning that results in enhanced mental capability to function effectively in familiar and novel situations in personal and intellectual life (Mohanan, 2010). An educated person as presented would have acquired :the knowledge deemed to be general thinking abilities to build knowledge , the language for critiquing, the ability to communicate clearly, precisely, for epistemic purposes, the capability for independent learning, the capability to engage in rational modes of inquiry, and, crucially ,the mindset that facilitates all the qualities mentioned above ( Mohanan 2010) In essence the educated man should be able to learn, apply, unlearn and relearn. ‘Educatedness’ is acquired via a channel of formal education. However formal education according to Zib, (1987) is offered in a systematic, organized education model, structured and administered according to a given set of laws and norms, presenting a rather rigid curriculum as regards objectives, content and methodology In contrast Zib, (1987) , argues that non-formal education characteristics are found when the adopted strategy does not require student attendance, decreasing the contacts between teacher and student and most activities take place outside the institution as for instance, home reading and paperwork. Endowed with flexible curricula and methodology, capable of adapting to the needs and interests of students, and is contingent upon the student’s work pace. Non-formal education seems better to meet the individual needs of students (

‘Educatedness’ is acquired via a channel of formal education. However formal education according to Zib, (1987) is offered in a systematic, organized education model, structured and administered according to a given set of laws and norms, presenting a rather rigid curriculum as regards objectives, content and methodology In contrast Zib, (1987) , argues that non-formal education characteristics are found when the adopted strategy does not require student attendance, decreasing the contacts between teacher and student and most activities take place outside the institution as for instance, home reading and paperwork. Endowed with flexible curricula and methodology, capable of adapting to the needs and interests of students, and is contingent upon the student’s work pace. Non-formal education seems better to meet the individual needs of students

An educated person, therefore, is one who has undergone a process of learning that results in enhanced mental capability to function effectively in familiar and novel situations in personal and intellectual life (Mohanan, 2010). An educated person as presented would have acquired :the knowledge deemed to be general thinking abilities to build knowledge , the language for critiquing, the ability to communicate clearly, precisely, for epistemic purposes, the capability for independent learning, the capability to engage in rational modes of inquiry, and, crucially ,the mindset that facilitates all the qualities mentioned above ( Mohanan 2010) In essence the educated man should be able to learn, apply, unlearn and relearn. ‘

‘Educatedness’ is acquired via a channel of formal education. However formal education according to Zib, (1987) is offered in a systematic, organized education model, structured and administered according to a given set of laws and norms, presenting a rather rigid curriculum as regards objectives, content and methodology In contrast Zib, (1987) , argues that non-formal education characteristics are found when the adopted strategy does not require student attendance, decreasing the contacts between teacher and student and most activities take place outside the institution as for instance, home reading and paperwork. Endowed with flexible curricula and methodology, capable of adapting to the needs and interests of students, and is contingent upon the student’s work pace. Non-formal education seems better to meet the individual needs of students    (Ward, Sawyer .McKinney & Dettoni ,1974)

Barnett,(2007) however argues that the concept of education is in itself a part of the concept of Higher education Since higher education refers to a personal level of individual development above that that is connoted by the term ‘ education ’. It includes all the activities a given country deems to be higher education – not only those that take place within ordinary universities and graduate schools, but shorter term education and training courses (polytechnics, junior colleges, and various forms of technical specialty schools) that are 2-3( two to three) years in length, and even correspondence courses that make use of information technology and are targeted at a broad population of students Martin Luther King Jnr .had said ‘ intelligence plus character that is the true goal of education However this level of personal development although attractive has been becoming increasingly burdensome as the funding of higher education has been thrust more on the individual. While the value added by a first degree is being eroded it seems daily. The traditional university, government regulated and nationalistic in nature is now facing the challenges that globalization ensued. This process of interaction and integration among people.

While the value added by a first degree is being eroded it seems daily. The traditional university, government regulated and nationalistic in nature is now facing the challenges that globalization ensued. This process of interaction and integration among people companies, governments of different nations that is driven by international trade and investments is also aided by information technology. Thus globalization has impacted culture, political systems, environment, economic and human development and prosperity and well-being around the world. Globalization it has also affected higher education. More access to higher education aided by Massive Open Online Courses ( MOOCS). Students are shopping locally as well as internationally. Reduced public funding globally and increased private funding through loans or direct payments has made higher education increasingly costly

The questions of value are becoming sharper as the cost of getting a degree rises. This year, the National Center for Education Statistics in the US pointed out: ‘Between 2000/01 and 2010/11, prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public institutions rose 42%, and prices at private, not-for-profit institutions rose 31% after adjustment for inflation.’ According to the Wall Street Journal on February 28, 2013, total student debt in the US is up 51 percent from 2008–2012 and now totals nearly $1 trillion. Moreover, 35 percent of students under 30 with debt are delinquent (90 days or more behind with their payments), compared to just 21 percent in 2004. The cost pressures on public universities in England were a major reason why the British government created the new student fee regime in 2010 and introduced it in 2012 In Jamaica data as cited by Dergisi & Eğitimi (2010) revealed that the two main institutions of UTECH and UWI in November 2010 had 5898 beneficiaries in arrears, owing an amount of over J$947M This represented 64% of the loan made available to students in 2010. UWI students owed at that time 2010 -J$610.91M or 64% of the amount, while UTECH students owed J$337.39M or 36%. A level of delinquency that the researcher said would restrict the ability of the Student Loan Bureau (SLB) to respond to the needs of future students.

Loan Bureau (SLB) to respond to the needs of future students.
Students need guidance to focus on not only learning and becoming educated but on being strategic players in the marketplace. Students should study to suit job markets. More should pursue careers in STEM STEM is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Discussion of STEM-related programs had become a presidential priority for the previous President Obama because too few college students are pursuing degrees in these fields. The U.S. Department of Labor expects that there will be 1.2 million job openings in STEM-related fields by 2018, but there won’t be enough qualified graduates to fill them.
Christensen. & Eyring (2011) argues that as the cost of higher education rises to students. The university has to adjust. The researcher through an examination of ‘ Harvard’ and’ BYU-Idaho’ as well as other stories of innovation in higher education suggested new ways forward. New ways to deal with curriculum, faculty issues, enrollment, retention, graduation rates, campus facility usage, and a host of other urgent issues in higher education and presented a strategic model to ensure economic vitality at the traditional university

Christensen. & Eyring (2011 ) argues that there is a remorseless increase in cost is driven by the ‘bigger-and-better tendency’. Each university is striving to become Harvard, but the basic point is surely undeniable. The problem from the point of view of the undergraduate student is that much of the cost base of a traditional university is irrelevant to their experience and sometimes. as highly-paid expert research professors avoid undergraduate teaching responsibilities (Barton & Yun ( 2012) Simon & Ensign (2013 ) and Christensen & Eyring 2011) The quality higher education marketed is not the quality experienced. Unemployment awaits and heavy student loan debts is often the end results ‘An avalanche is coming’:, as the price charged to the student is not matching quality outcomes Students tend to equate cost with quality thus think additional cost is directly correlated with higher quality.

While graduates are less likely to be unemployed much depends on the nature of the degree and employers often question the skills a degree provides. Richard D Stephens, senior vice president for human resources and management claimed a recent study in the US showed a significant difference in the risk of unemployment among recent university graduates depending on their major. Those that majored in the liberal arts and non-technical subjects had some of the highest rates of unemployment (around 11 percent), while those with more technical expertise had significantly lower rates. Another study a recent survey from the National Association of College Employers found similar results. In average, earnings by Engineering major was the highest, at $75,000, while psychology, social work, and education had the lowest, at $42,000. ‘An avalanche is coming (Barber, Donnelly and Rizvi,2013) ’,

‘An avalanche is coming (Barber, Donnelly and Rizvi,2013) ’. The number of graduates in the world is increasing rapidly, partly due to the growing proportion of each age group going to university in developed countries,(Barber, Donnelly & Rizvi, 2013). By 2020, China alone will account for 29 percent of all the university graduates in the world aged 25–34., there will be as many Chinese graduates in that age group as in the entire US labour force. In addition to this. The prized first class honors are being devalued as the number of graduates gaining first class honors in the UK has more than doubled in the past decade. In just four years, the number has increased by 45 per cent. This trending matter alongside the changing demands of the global labour market drives the questions about the likely value of a traditional degree
The talk of the university as the agent of personal development that creates a finished good the educated man. A desirous outcome doubtlessly as one forms; social capital bridges that form linkages connecting people or groups further up or lower down the social ladder. The potential benefits of friends and families being able to help us emotionally, socially and economically Bourdieu, (1986)  Social capital has value, doubtlessly. Intellectual capital /personal capital the- Knowledge and competencies residing within the person. Financial capital who knows you know what you know… Familiar terms being used. However, Higher Education Institutions has some adjustments to make now, students too and all stakeholders. Or, An Avalanche is coming that will erode higher education as we know it.


Education, to be meaningful. must become the innovative, relevant, safe and reasonable solutions to the challenges that face us all nationally and globally Lecturers and students need to become partners that will drive this change. The government, Civil Society, Private sector and Philanthropists should work together to support the work of the drivers of change or an avalanche is coming. As Martin Luther King Jnr. said ‘ Intelligence plus character that is the true goal of education” it is the character that will ensure all comes together for the greater good of humanity.

williamsburroughs1teacherquotes_Oprahschool-itok=fivd0RFzimagesdepositphotos_4133156-stock-photo-education-and-graduation-capimages (1)

Barnett R , (1997) The idea of higher education Buckingham SRHE & OUP

Barber M., Donnelly K and Rizvi S. (2013) An avalanche is coming.Higher education         and the revolution ahead. Retrieved from http://www.avalancheiscoming.com/             April 5,2017.

Bourdieu, P. (1986) The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.) Handbook of Theory          and Research for the Sociology of Education (New York, Greenwood), 241-258.

Christensen. C & Eyring H (2011) The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of             Higher Education from the Inside Out Retrieved from
https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ff1207s.pdf April 5, 2017

Eğitimi O & Dergisi E. Journal of Teacher Education and Educators Retrieved from
http://www.jtee.org/document/issue3/MAK5.pdf April 5, 2017

Mohanan K .P Who is an educated person? .Ingredients of Educatedness Retrieved           from http://www.iiserpune.ac.in/~mohanan/educated/who.htm April 5,2017

Ward T.W, Sawyer F.D, .McKinney L., &. Dettoni I.,(1974) “Effective Learning: Lessons        To Be Learned From Schooling, in “Effective learning in Non-Formal Education”,        Michigan State University,

Higher Education Value for Money or simply ‘Big Business’ An Avalanche is coming

Using Simulation Technologies to Teach Nursing at HEIs in Jamaica


Patientsimulation (1)

What is Simulation? Simulation is essentially an imitation of what is real. Gaba (2007) defined simulation as a technique which replaces or amplifies real experiences with guided experiences. These situations replicate substantial aspects of the real world in an interactive fashion. A simulator is the device used for simulation. Is the use of simulation new in teaching nursing one may ask…the simple answer would be ‘NO.’ Traditionally in teaching nurses, simulation has always been used. Examples of these would be the practice of demonstrating skills in a lab and having students return the demonstration; the many role plays that are used to concretize concepts; using case studies and problem-based scenarios are all forms of simulated learning.  However, many senior nurses may well remember practicing giving an injection on oranges…and of course on patients hospitalised to be cared for. ‘Am I in the muscle?’

Injected Orange

Nursing is both a science and an art which requires both the theoretical knowledge and clinical expertise. Jamaica has consistently educated nurses who are highly sought after around the world with many nurses migrating to North America. The challenges that have arisen for some years now are the expansions of nursing programmes and the large numbers of students being admitted since nursing is being taught in the university settings. At the University of Technology, Jamaica, where I teach, for example, there is usually 100 students accepted in year one on the Kingston campus and another 50 at the Montego Bay campus. At the same time the University of the West Indies School of Nursing would be accepting even more than 100 students on their Kingston campus, with additional numbers at their Western campus and at franchised institutions in some of the Community Colleges in Kingston and other parishes; Northern Caribbean University also accepts very large numbers of students. Are you getting the picture? With so many students to be trained and all of them using the same clinical facilities, the overcrowding is inevitable. This results in students not being able to get ample clinical practice for the skills that they need. This is also occurring in a setting where so many nurses are migrating to other countries. In 2015, the Nurses Association President, Mrs. Janet Farr, raised the alarm that migration and resignation of specialist nurses from the public health system in 2014 resulted in extreme shortages and contributed to an increase in workload (Porter, 2015). This trend has continued steadily and in 2016, Minister of Health Christopher Tufton was reported as saying that migration of nurses has creating a health care crisis (The Jamaica Observer, 2016).

Why Simulation?

'Correct. And in the case of a cardiac arrest, every second counts. Who can tell me why? Anyone? Clock's ticking.'

The use of patients to teach and practice within the clinical setting will always be relevant in nursing and cannot be fully replaced. However, patient safety must be paramount. Patient safety is a major reason to use simulation in teaching nursing or any other health discipline for that matter. McGaghie, Issenburg, Cohen, Barsuk and Wayne (2011), reported that for the field of medicine a growing body of evidence supports improved patient care practices and better patient outcomes when clinical skills are acquired in medical simulation laboratory settings.

Other reasons, in addition to the changes in the clinical environment outlined above; are to facilitate deliberate practice and assessment; team training; research, improved technology as well as being more effective; facilitates immediate feedback; allows deliberate practice; curriculum integration; outcome measurement; skill acquisition and maintenance; transfer to practice among others. Simulation is also fun while learning! You can “kill” the patient without suffering terrible consequences (Gaba, 2007; McGaghie, Issenburg, Petrusa and Ross, 2010).


How much is the simulation technologies used to teach nursing in Jamaica. The three major universities have a variety of simulators used to assist nursing students to learn. At UTech there are a mix of regular mannequins, medium fidelity simulators and high fidelity simulators. The simulators can be programmed to replicate many human responses such as crying, groaning, coughing; students can take vital signs, pass naso-gastric tubes, pass urinary catheters, set up intravenous lines; simulators can display illnesses such as asthma, heart failure etc. These abilities can allow the students to practice and become proficient in a safe place. The big BUT is do the institutions have all the human and material resources needed to fully utilize these simulators? Are there dedicated simulation labs that would replicate a hospital setting? These are challenges that the institutions face. Much more resources need to be put into this…more staff is needed and to be trained in simulation; more space is needed to create the proper environment and the nursing curriculum importantly must be revised to reflect the changes in teaching methodologies.


Examples of the simulators available in the simulation learning environment in Jamaica are:


Medium Fidelity Simulators

20170405_093717          20170405_093854

High Fidelity Simulators Including a Pregnant Woman, SimMan & an ICU SimMan

Norman (2012) sums up at that time what the literature indicated on simulation in nursing education; the simulation learning environment proves that knowledge, skills, safety, communication and confidence is improved, however, there is a gap in literature on transfer of these outcomes to the clinical setting. In Jamaica, the simulation learning environment is still taking ‘baby steps’ and therefore will not yield the type of results that is seen in some countries. In addition the research is sparse and must be undertaken so that evidence can be used to support the use of simulation technologies to teach nursing in Jamaica. I fully support the use of simulation technologies to teach nursing in HEIs in Jamaica!

Cartoon Simulated



Gaba, D.M. (2007) The future vision of simulation in healthcare. Simul Health c, 2, 126-135.

Porter, R. (2015). Public health sector lost 200 nurses last year- NAJ. The Jamaica Observer. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Public-health-sector-lost-200-nurses-last-year—NAJ_19219817

McGaghie, W.C., Issenburg, S. B., Cohen, E. R., Barsuk, J.H., & Wayne, D.B. (2011). Does simulation-based medical education with deliberate practice yield better results than traditional clinical education? A meta-analytic comparative review of the evidence. Academic Medicine, vol. 86 (6), pp. 1-6.

McGaghie, W.C., Issenburg, S. B., Petrusa, E.R, & Scalese, R. J. (2010). A critical review of simulation-based medical education research: 2003-2009. Medical Education; 44: 50-63

Migration of nurses creating health care crisis – Tufton. (2016, January 26). The Jamaica Observer.  http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Migration-of-nurses-creating-health-crisis—Tufton

Norman, J. (2012). Systematic review of the literature on nursing education. The ABNF Journal; Spring 2012: pp. 24-28.

By: Keron Jones-Fraser

Using Simulation Technologies to Teach Nursing at HEIs in Jamaica

Mental Health and Higher Education

did you know

Bet you didn’t know that you may have mental health issues.

Well you could, that is 80% of higher education students are mentally ill (Smith, 2016).


Well have you been yelling or fighting with family and friends, having unexplained aches and pains, feeling helpless or hopeless, smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual, feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared and even thinking about harming yourself or others? (Smith, 2016).

MentalAccording to the psychologist, your mental wellbeing is questionable. Today’s young adults in higher education, increasingly need adequate mental health support and services. There is an increasing need for such services mainly because of the level of stress and emotional difficulties that come with studying at a post-secondary institution. Going to university is never easy. Therefore, this discussion will look at what is mental health, signs associated with the disorder, causes of mental disorder in higher education students, students’ academic performance and mental health services available at higher education institutions.

University students are one of the most sensitive strata of society, many of whom will become the future’s managers and planners, and the mental health of the society is contingent upon their mental health. One of the characteristics of a normal personality is having full mental health (Bostani, Nadri, & Nasab, 2014). It is said that one in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have a diagnosable mental illness. (National Alliance on Mental Illness , 2015)

Wow!!!!!! Am I one in four?

wowSo, I decided to read deeper on the topic. This is what I found, mental health is a state of emotional, psychological, and social well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community (WHO, 2014). I exhaled! So, let’s find out if you the reader is. Depression, anxiety and stress are mental disorders that affect college students on a daily basis and majority of these students suffer from both depression and anxiety. A student who suffers from clinical depression will experience feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, decreased energy, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions and difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping daily.

Can you imagine a student who also become easily irritable and has difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank?


A survey conducted in 2009 suggested that 85% of college students reported experiencing stress daily (University of Florida, 2016).  Please note that the contributors to stress are academic demands, financial responsibilities and social pressures and expectations.


About one in 10 higher education students have experienced “suicidal thoughts”, according to a survey on mental health carried out at universities in the UK (Grove, 2013). In UK universities, more than a quarter of students (27%) report having a mental health problem of one type or another (Aronin & Smith, 2016). More than 25 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health condition within the past year. Freshmen accounted for more than one-third of undergraduate deaths with 40% due to suicide, and half of all deaths were due to falls from windows, balconies, and rooftops usually related to drug and alcohol abuse (Hernandez, 2006).

This is unbelievable, I could be walking past, sitting beside one of those persons. Why are higher education students suffering from this illness?


College students have difficulty adapting to college life, competing, and handling their new-found freedom with minimal adult supervision. As they transition from high school to college, anxiety increases as they leave behind the support of family, friends, and familiar surroundings which may place them at risk for academic, personal, and social difficulties. (Hernandez, 2006). They are also coping with academic pressure and others are dealing with numerous work and family responsibilities.

Mental illnesses may interfere with post-secondary student’s ability to function at a tertiary institution. It can affect students’ ability to attend classes, focus on academic material, and learn effectively, which may lead to a decline in academic performance, that may discourage students and add to their mental vulnerability. Mental disorders may hinder motivation and/or induce feelings of discouragement and hopelessness  (University of Florida, 2016), for example, depression is a significant predictor of lower GPA and higher probability of dropping out, even after controlling for symptoms of anxiety and eating disorders, prior academic performance, and other covariates (Eisenberg & Ezra Golberstein, 2009).

i cant.jpg

Almost 73 percent of students living with a mental health condition experienced a mental health crisis on campus (National Alliance on Mental Illness , 2015). At higher education institution, the state of mental health is a growing crisis. Unfortunately, many college campuses are not equipped to offer adequate services to students with mental health issues. According to the National Mental Health Association (2010), consistent access to mental health intervention eludes many college students. Lack of financial resources, the difficulty of service delivery, stigmatization, and societal misconceptions of the mentally ill have been cited as reasons for the mental health services deficiency present in many college counseling centers (National Mental Health Association, 2010).  However, it is recorded that in general, post-secondary students are not seeking help, although in some colleges it is available. 40 percent of students with diagnosable mental health conditions did not seek help (National Alliance on Mental Illness , 2015). The number one reason for them not asking for help is the stigma that goes with it, although they are aware of the mental health services their university provides. Three-quarters of students were aware of counseling service provided by the institution.


The number of college students with mental disorders has increased and therefore calls into question not only their mental health, but its impact on higher education as it relates to policies that address incidences of violence, aggression, suicide, and disruptive behavior  are the higher education institution putting in place programmes or services to eliminate or lessen the occurrences of these mental health issues on their campuses (Hernandez, 2006). A programme that helps to prevent Suicide, training Peers to be able to identify the sign of mental illness and have the technique to defuse and help the student and distribute mental health information during, orientation, campus-wide events (carnival) are a good way to help those students suffering from this disorder.

From research done significant relations were found between educational performance and mental health and some of its components, such as depression and anxiety. Students with better mental health status have a better educational performance.

what do you think

Should these students attend higher education institutions?

If the institution does not take them in, will they have the cohort to hold classes.

Do all of us has a few mental health issues.?

Are lecturers immune?

Food for thought.


Are we all crazy!!!!!!!!!!



Aronin, S., & Smith, M. (2016, August 8). One in four students suffer from mental health problems. Retrieved from YouGov Website: https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/08/09/quarter-britains-students-are-afflicted-mental-hea/

Bostani, M., Nadri, A., & Nasab, A. R. (2014, February 21). A Study of the Relation between Mental health and Academic Performance of Students of the Islamic Azad University Ahvaz Branch. Science Direct, 116, 163-165.

Eisenberg, D., & Ezra Golberstein, J. H. (2009, September). 11. B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 9(1).

Grove, J. (2013, May 20). Students’ mental health problems highlighted. Retrieved from The World University Ranking Website: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/students-mental-health-problems-highlighted/2003957.article

Hernandez, N. E. (2006, November 17-18). The Mental Health of College Students: Challenges, Obstacles, and Solutions . Retrieved from New York Univerity Faculty Resource Website: https://www.nyu.edu/frn/publications/millennial.student/Mental-Health-Hernandez.html

National Alliance on Mental Illness . (2015, January). College Student Mental Health Statistics. Retrieved from Chadron State College Website: http://www.csc.edu/bit/resources/statistics/

Smith, J. (2016, March 2). Student mental health: a new model for universities . Retrieved from The Hugher Education Network: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2016/mar/02/student-mental-health-a-new-model-for-universities

University of Florida. (2016, September). Understanding Mental Health and Academics. Retrieved from University of Florida Counseling and Wellness Center Website: http://www.counseling.ufl.edu/cwc/understanding-mental-health-and-academics

WHO. (2014, August 31). Mental health: a state of well-being. Retrieved from World Health Organization Website: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/

Mental Health and Higher Education


Libraries are portals to all of the world’s knowledge and librarians make sure that knowledge continues to be recorded and saved for the future.  The way of preserving and accessing this information has changed over the years as technology continues to play a vital role in accessing information. While developments in technology have made it easier for students in higher education to access materials for their researches as this can be done virtually, will the digital age mean that libraries are becoming extinct?

Future of Academic Libraries?

Griffith (2015) posits that as information becomes more digitized and omnipresent the space of the library may no longer be needed and asks how can a librarian measure against a  back-drop of increase in limited funding? Simple, libraries have to become creative and face these challenges head on. The challenges are enormous however,Spiro and Henry (2010) and Nelson and Haines (2010) postulates that equally important, and deemed one of the biggest barriers to online resources in universities has been a lack of academic content and when you do find materials for courses they are very pricy “for publishers to set up and maintain infrastructures for both electronic and print books”(Spiro & Henry, 2010).

Although this may be true, we see that funding plays a vital part.In fact, libraries “predate books, and in their modern form, libraries of all kinds – public libraries, research libraries, school libraries” to name a few “typically stand at the heart of the communities they serve, and digitization creates new challenges and opportunities, hence, forcing libraries to take on new roles, and perform traditional roles in new ways”even with funding being a concern.   We dont grow when things are easy

Challenges and Solutions
Of course, librarians have become creative to align themselves with the growing e-resources and the lack of funding among others. Ubogu and Okiy (2011) agrees and states that “the importance of funding in providing quality library service cannot be overemphasized. It is the glue that holds the building, collection and staff together and allows the library to attain its goals. As such, money can be considered the soul of the library. As a result, inadequate funds impede the effectiveness of any library.” Therefore, libraries not only in Jamaica but globally have to dig deep and come up with strategies to stay afloat in this technological age to meet the needs of the users.


Now, in a third world country like Jamaica the University of the West Indies Libraries remain competitive. Mention must be made of their West Indies and Special Collection, (WISC), (Mona) that has earned several accolades over the years from persons locally and internationally for their unique Caribbean collection which houses-: Rare Books, Manuscripts, West Indian Creative Writings, Microforms, Maps, and Audiovisuals to name a few. This collection is one of their way of remaing competitive – then congratulations are in order. In addition, there is also the Edward Seaga’s Collection,
P.J. Patterson’s Collection and Rex Nettleford’s Collection among other notable gifts. These collections consist of items both in print and digitization and the content is quite valuable and persons globally come to Jamaica to consult these “prized” materials.

West Indies & Special Collection14

Notably, there are also e-books and e-journals that the library has to acquire regardless that they may also have the printed copy, and these are extremely expensive and take a chunk out of the libraries budget. Another challenge is vendor stipulations whereas libraries cannot buy some books as they would a print and have multiple users as the publisher would not profit so it creates another “roadblock” for academic libraries. Notwithstanding, academic libraries have to be marketable, they have to attract their users no matter the challenges faced.

Also there is the task of sufficient computers and these computers have to be equipped with programs and software that is current. Libraries wrestle with the “longevity of technologies and devise back-up plans before making large investments.” So yes, “libraries are likely to remain important for years to come” and “will still purchase print books even though “space over time is in conflict with space for users” (Renwick & Peltier-Davis, 2007).

users in library

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Library for example, carries several e-books,
e-journals, electronic databases which includes their Mona Online and Research Database (MORD), EBSCOhost Online Research Database, JSTOR, EmeraldinSight, and ProQuest Central to name a few. These are some of the databases that are shared on an interface platform so that students in Jamaica (Open Campus and Mona) and from the sister campuses (Cave Hill in Barbados and St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago) can also have access.The sharing of resources helps to offset some of the costs for all the stakeholders hence, giving students access across disciplines, across campuses in real time. As well, the library at Mona offers several other services to stay abreast of technology and make themselves more marketable for example, students that are visually challenged can still have access using – :

Assistive Technology – Visually Impaired Students’ Technology Assisted Services (VISTAS) was established in 1997. It provides visually challenged students with assistive (adaptive) technologies that aid in their learning process


Kurzweil – visually impaired users with access to printed and electronic material.

Printed documents (after being scanned) and digital files such as eBooks or email are converted from text to speech and read aloud

Jaws for Windows – This software provides speech technology that works with your computer’s operating system to provide access to popular software applications and the Internet for visually impaired students.

Braille Embosser – This machine converts text to Braille

Victor Reader – This is a sophisticated digital talking book with an audio and mp3 CD player that allows visually impaired students to read from the printed pages.
blind_graduate_212pxAs a result, several students with challenges have been able to leave the University with a degree in higher education. The library created access, equity and equality in a technologically driven time. They prepare these students for life-long learning with the necessary tools. The library should be considered the hub of any university and with this digital explosion over the years they have to be impressive. No wonder libraries have to step forward and embrace tele-education especially since there is a demand for online education (Wright, 2000). Does this make them on the road to extinction? I think not. It’s called reinvention and remaining relevant so that there is equal access. 

Speaking of access, who speaks for the person who cannot afford the online resources or just prefer the book instead of virtual resources? THE LIBRARY!!! Students need options. Some students need someone that is approachable, personable, can ask open-ended questions to assist them in becoming competent and adept to finding their own information – facilitating them to find, analyse and use.

So while the library tries to stay afloat in this technological age which is sometimes too impersonal for a lot of library users, there are some persons who are stuck in the era where books are supreme and their voice must also be heard, their needs must also be met (Sharma, 2012).They want to mark and feel their books, they want to curl up privately and read not thinking about the down time of the Wi-Fi or issues with their smart phone or laptop and just unwind.

Technology plays an “important role in advancing the availability of higher education for the under-represented student populations”, while ensuring “accessibility of web materials” for the physically and visually challenged but what about persons who are not ‘tech savvy,’ where is the equity? Libraries play a vital role even in this world of technology and materials being digitized, and have to cater for diverse users to show equity.Students and faculty need options if they find it difficult to maneuver the databases or catalogue. Furthermore, some students love to sit with a librarian who can give them personalized attention and facilitate their production of the best research papers they can (Peltier-Davis, (2011). So no, there is a place for both the library and technology even amidst the unyielding challenges. Libraries will continue to reinvent themselves to meet the needs of not some of their users, but all their users – both technologically inclined and otherwise.

library competition


Griffith, J. (2015, September 2). Emerging trends and the implications for libraries. In The Library and Information Association. Retrieved March 18, 2017, from

Harris, S. (2016). “Trends and issues in Jamaican academic libraries 2010-2016”. New Library  World117(11), 721-745.


Nelson, M.R. and Haines, E. (2010), “E-books in higher education: are we there yet?”, ECAR Research Bulletin 2, available at: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERB1002.pdf

Peltier-Davis, Cheryl. “Overview of library services in the English-speaking Caribbean –

Management, innovative services and resource sharing.” International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, 2011, https://www.ifla.org/past-wlic/2011/81-davis-en.pdf. Accessed 18 Mar. 2017.

Renwick, S., & Peltier-Davis, C. (Eds.). (2007). Caribbean libraries in the 21st century:      changes, challenges, and choices. Medford, NJ: Information Today Inc.

Sharma, R. N. (2012). Libraries in the early 21st century: An international perspective. Berlin:
De Gruyter Saur.

Spiro, L., & Henry, G. (2010). Can research library be all digital? The idea of order
transforming research collections for 21st century scholarship (pp. 5-80). Washington DC: Council of Libraries and Information Resources.

“The future of libraries in the digital age.” The Ohio State University, 2017, Columbus. Address.

Ubogu, J., & Okiy, R. (2011). Sources of funds in academic libraries in Delta State, Nigeria. Library Philosophy and Practice. Retrieved from University of Nebraska (1522-0222).

Wright, C. (2000). Issues in education and technology: policy guidelines and strategies for
Commonwealth countries
. London, United Kingdom: Commonwealth Secretariat.








Student Activism in Jamaica: Dead or Alive?

Korea’s Ewha-Park-Choi Scandal

Just last week the president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, was removed from office as the constitutional court voted in favor of an impeachment that was previously set in motion in December of 2016. The impeachment and ruling were rooted in the discovery of a scandal that revealed that Park was involved in string of corrupt activities through her friend and close associate Choi Soon-sil. The Associated Press (2017) explains that Investigations revealed that Choi, who was not a government worker, may have been privy to very sensitive state information and used her connection to the president to pressure businesses into ‘donating’ over $70 million US, some of which was for her personal use, to two non-profit organizations that she controlled. But how was the scandal uncovered? Reports indicate that it all started with student protests at Ewha Womans University, one of South Korea’s most prestigious higher education institutions.

In the summer of 2016, the Associated Press (2017) explains, students at Ewha, protested against the school’s administration to create a new degree programme. The programme was withdrawn from the all-female university, but disgruntled students continued protests, this time to have the president of the school submit her resignation. The persistence of the students led to the revelation that the school was extending favoritism to Choi’s daughter who was enrolled at Ewha. This rippled into an investigation on Choi which ultimately formed into the tsunami that toppled Park’s presidency.


Although the students at Ewha were praised for their activism, as it was the seed that sprout into uncovering of the national scandal, they were not met with open arms during the times they were protesting. Afterall, who likes protestors to begin with? In fact, the student protestors, who were numbered at about 200, were met by some 1600 officers during one of their demonstrations which took the form of occupying a building. Yet despite the push back, the Ewha Students persisted, and now their university is free of a corrupt president and South Korea is free of a corrupt President Park.

The Golden Age

If one were to take a look at several decades ago, it would be quite clear that student activism has not been something new. In fact it has not been uncommon that student activism would, whether directly or indirectly, shift the foundations of national politics as the students at Ewha did in Korea. There are many documented student protests, some even as early as the “May fourth” protests in China, that took place in 1919 over students disagreement with China granting Shadong Territory to Japan, and led to China refusing to sign the World War One Treaty of Versailles which would have sanctioned the handing over of the territory.

However, the 1960s, and 70s, are considered by some to be the Golden Age of student activism because of the major impact student protests had on their country and the world, and not to mention the brutality and bloodshed, among other challenges, that the student activists had to endure. For example there was the Vietnam protests in the 1966-1970, where approximately 4 million students from 450 different institutions rose up against the Vietnam War and contributed to President Nixon withdrawing the American troops some years later (Finan, 2013; Saucedo, n.d.); also in the 60s, students were key in the spearheading of the civil rights movement in the US and led the fights against segregation through their Student’ Non-Violent Coordination Committee (Gupta, 2016); in France there was the ‘Protests of May’ during 1968 where students who were disgruntled with the outdated nature of  educational system as well as the lack of job opportunities took to the streets to and held week long protests that eventually led to the reformation of the education bill as well as better wages (Mukherjee, 2016); and in 1976, there was the Soweto Uprisings in South Africa where thousands of students left their schools and rallied at the Orlando Stadium as a protest against the Apartheid and would ripple into the fall of the regime and the freedom of Nelson Mandela (Saucedo, n.d; Finan, 2013; Mukherjee, 2016).


Caribbean students were no strangers to the student activist movement of the 1960s and 70s. For example, Caribbean students at the then Sir George Williams University, now called the Concordia University, held the largest student occupation in Canadian history when they occupied the school’s computer lab from January 29 to February 11 in 1969. Dubbed the Computer Riots or Sir George William Affair, the protest led to more student centered reforms at the university and paved the way for similar reforms in other higher education institutions (the guardian, 2014).

Right in Jamaica, there were also the Walter Rodney Riots of 1968. Westmaas (2008) explains that the riots were in response to Walter Rodney, a Guyanese Pan-Africanist, political activist and scholar who lectured at the then University College of the West Indies (UCWI), being banned from entering the country because of his communist views. The riots in Jamaica inspired similar student protests across the Caribbean Region. Students protested at the UCWI Campuses in Trinidad and Barbados and demanded that the Barbadian and Trinidadian Governments take action against the Jamaican Government. In Guyana some 300 students marched to the Prime Minister’s residence to demand that the Guyanese Government also take action (Westmaas, 2008).


Student Activism Today

Today student activism is still alive in many countries around the world. For example in the US alone there were approximately 160 protests on college campuses in the 2014 fall semester alone. There have been the student led #BlackLivesMatter walkouts and “die-ins,”  as well as protests on a spectrum of other issues, including high tuition costs, university divestment, and campus sexual assault (Zhou & Green, 2015). Also in North America, approximately 250, 000 students from several student unions protested in Quebec, Canada over hikes in tuition fees in college and forced the government to put a freeze on tuition fees (Mukherjee, 2016). There have also been major protests in countries such as Egypt, Greece, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, India and Mayanmar to name a few (Zhou & Green, 2015).


However, can it be said that student activism is still alive in Jamaica? Sure, the ‘Golden Age’ of student protesting may have passed with the 60’s and 70s and it is not expected that students would necessarily protest the same way as their predecessors did. However many feel that in Jamaica, the students unlike their counterparts at Ewha, generally lack the political will, strength and concern to take part in ongoing protests to fix the ills in their own institutions.

Despite there being a few protests here and there, and now and again, there have not been protests on the magnitude as there once were or addressing large scale issues that were once addressed. Also, it is felt by many that students across Jamaica are distracted, and in some ways lack a real concern for societal issues that their predecessors had. Think about it, when last has there been a national protest of students? Several questions come to mind when thinking about the current situation: Is it that the students are really distracted or they lack concern or is it that there aren’t any issues worth protesting against? Is it that the world today is ‘A OK’, and students are comfortable and do not feel that the current ills are minor? Or is it that unlike the predecessors, students today are scared, less aggressive and aren’t willing to march in the face of arrests and even death for a cause?

Some are of the opinion protesting across the world has witnessed a rebirth of some sort with the era of social media where the ‘articulate minority’ voice their concerns and air their growls on digital mediums such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram and YouTube. However, some believe that this very ‘rebirth’ is indeed the death of real student activism and have termed social media protests as ‘Slacktivism” because though part of the social justice conversation, social media activism rarely effects change and social media users rarely go the step further to act upon the very issue they were ‘protesting’ about (Robertson, 2014). The use of social media has been a popular medium among the ‘articulate minority’ of Jamaica and many students who want to voice their concerns about society. Yet despite popular outcry by many, the lack of change begs the question about if these persons have taken the next step to participate in intensified action.


Maybe it is a case where protesting has become outdated in Jamaica and students at Jamaican higher education institutions have found more effective ways of addressing institutional and national issues. Or is it? Who knows. Maybe it is a case where student activism is dead and students in Jamaica need to take a page out of their Ewha counterparts. If Walter Rodney, who was a staunch student activist were alive, he would do what he did back in his day and fuel students to taking more active stances against ills. Maybe he is rolling in his grave today.



Finan, V. (2013, December 11). A brief history of student protest: From ‘no women at      Cambridge’ in 1897 to ‘cops off campus’ in 2013. Retrieved from   http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/a-brief-history-of-student-protest-from-no-women-at-cambridge-in-1897-to-cops-off-campus-in-2013-8997569.html. Continue reading “Student Activism in Jamaica: Dead or Alive?”

Student Activism in Jamaica: Dead or Alive?

What is the Future of Online Teaching & Learning in Higher Education?


a4f871c03554d7d81bed8ab4a1fd06d8In the past, full time employees desirous of pursuing tertiary education had to simply resort to attending classes in the evenings after a hectic work day, or on the weekends. Familial demands and other personal commitments often meant pushing educational advancement to the back-burner. Today, it is much easier and rewarding for individuals to pursue their education not through traditional classroom settings, but through a virtual learning environment.

The University of Edinburgh (2017) define online learning as a way of studying for a locally and internationally recognised qualification without needing to attend classes on campus.  It is aimed at those who wish to study for a postgraduate qualification alongside work or other commitments. Online education is becoming an important long-term strategy for many postsecondary institutions. Given the rapid growth of online education and its importance for postsecondary institutions, it is imperative that institutions of higher education provide quality online programs.


According to the National Centre for Education Statistics, today’s students are now exposed and live in a technological era in which they are engulfed with an array of mobile technological devices and learning OnlineDegreetools that include, Computers, Smartphones and Tablets and E-readers; interactive audio or videoconferencing tools such as Skype, webcasts, instructional videos via CD-ROMs or DVDs and computer-based systems transmitted through the Internet (Aud, Hussar, & Kena, 2011).  Programmes are delivered in courses that you can complete at times convenient to you.  Online programmes deliver programme content and opportunities to interact with other students in a number of ways such as virtual learning environment, e.g. Moodle, Learn or Blackboard Collaborate,  wikis, blogs, discussion boards and forums, video streaming services, e.g. YouTube or Vimeo, virtual worlds, e.g. Second Life just to name a few. 


It is no surprise that educational institutions are now utilising these media to reach a wider audience of individuals who are keen on furthering their education.  Globally, higher education utilises online teaching methods to ensure that a wide array of courses are being taught and accessible to individuals worldwide. In response to these changes in enrolment demands, many institutions, and organisations have been working on strategic plans to implement online education. 

At the same time, misconceptions and myths related to the difficulty of teaching and learning online, technologies available to support online instruction, the support and tablet-mobile-desk-640x533compensation of learning opportunities are available for students in a highly competitive technological arena. Almost if not all institutions of higher education have increasingly embraced online education, and the number of students enrolled in distance education programs is rapidly rising. Colleges and universities now recruit high-quality instructors to develop courses that satisfy the educational demands of individuals worldwide. With the cost of higher education rapidly rising and the challenges experienced by students in funding their education, online distance education has now become an attractive prospect for potential students. The needs of online students create challenges for such vision statements and planning documents.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) mainpic

Massive popular online education platforms such as edX, Udemy, Coursera are MOOC’s widely used by individuals worldwide. Here in the Caribbean, we have the University of the West Indies, Open Campus, the online distance education arm of the UWI alongside the three brick and mortar campuses located at Mona, Jamaica, Cave Hill, Barbados, and St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.   The Open Campus offers undergraduate, postgraduate or continuing and professional education programmes and courses that are accessed by individuals across the Caribbean.  Courses are offered in a blended format consisting of either online or face-to-face lectures which are held at local Open Campus Country sites (OCCS) across the region. 

The University of the West Indies Open Campus -Bahamas                                                                                                      

Technology has played and continues to play an important role in thocbahamas_pice development and expansion of online education.   The development of new technology continues to have an impact on learning. While on the one hand, new technology allows schools and instructors to offer learning in new ways, educators nonetheless continue to face limitations imposed by technology, and sometimes the lack of technology. Rovai (2002) emphasized the four interacting components that provides a sense of community within the online learning environment, which are: connectedness, interdependency, socialization, and common goals. The learning process is strengthened and sustainable when institutions help students feel committed and satisfied with their online practices and when they experience a strong sense of community within the learning environment (Tinto, 1993).  Rovai (2002) also posited that a strong feeling of community and camaraderie among students is crucial, not only to increase diligence in coursework, but also to encourage cooperation and commitment among students and help them to achieve their individual goals as students. For students that have a need to communicate with their peers and instructors, they can schedule chat sessions and online group discussions to participate and respond to questions, assignments, problems, and projects in real time (Barr & Miller, 2013) This will reduce isolation in the online learning environment as this is not the case in the familiar face-to-face format of traditional education.

Online education has emerged in all levels of the school environment; vocational institutions and colleges are incorporating online classes at an increasing rate. With advances in technology, clearly we should use the internet as a supplemental tool but with the level of education necessary for us to compete in the world economy, we must conduct due diligence to determine which classes are to be offered at what level and to whom, in order for online learning to be credible. Our education system needs a drastic overhaul for us to remain competitive in the global market. Online learning offers the convenience of time and space, capability of reaching a greater student population, and draws the attention of a new group of digital learners.  Rovai (2002) proposed that instructors, who embrace supportive methodologies, may help students feel connected through a strong sense of community, leading to a productive and successful online experience.

Online education has made great strides in recent years. For starters, more and more institutions of higher learning have introduced or reinforced their online education platforms, the main considerations being cost reduction for students and recruitment expansion in the face of rising competition. As a result, online education has become an increasingly important part of tertiary education, with colleges and universities using world-famous faculty members and professional support teams to promote online courses.
Is online learning the future for higher education? Will universities continue to have an increase in enrolments for online programmes?
  Online learning is an ever-evolving, ever-changing system (Shea-Schultz, Forgarty, 2002). We should wait and see.



Aud, S., Hussar, W. & Kena, G. (2011). The Condition of Education 2011. Washington, DC:

National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education.

Barr, B.A., & Miller, S.F. (2013). Higher Education: The Online Teaching and Learning

Experience. School of Advanced Studies, University of Phoenix.  Retrieved March 11,

2017 from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED543912
Downes, S. (2008). The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On. Half an Hour. Retrieved

March 14, 2017 from http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2008/11/future-of-online-learning-ten-years-on_16.html

Rovai, A.P. (2002). Building sense of community at a distance. International Review of Research

in Open and Distance Learning.  Retrieved from


Shea-Shultz, H., & Fogarty, J. (2002) Online learning today: Strategies that work, San Francisco,

CA: Barrett Koehler. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/79/152.

The University of Edinburgh (2016, June 30). What is online learning? Retrieved from


Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving College: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. (2nd

Ed.) Chicago: University of Chicago, Press.


What is the Future of Online Teaching & Learning in Higher Education?

Threat to International Student Mobility

What happens when the ‘borders’ to higher education close?

Times Higher Education (World University Rankings) is one of the most renowned league tables used to rank universities worldwide.  One of the indicators used in judging the top universities is the percentage of international students enrolled.  In the 2016/2017 World Rankings, 15 of the top 20 universities were located in the United States (US), with the number of international students enrolled ranging from 16 to 34 percent.  It dawned on me, that with the advent of the Trump administration, it is likely that higher educational institutions in the United States may experience a downturn in the number of international students who will choose to study in that country during the life span of his presidency.

USABarbedWireThe internet is abuzz with the Executive Order from the White House temporarily banning travelers and refugees from seven (7) Muslim states – Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the USA (Fischer, 2017; the Guardian, 2017; Ansari, Robertson & Dewan, 2017).  Even, students studying in the US and holders of US green cards who were from these countries and who found themselves outside of the United States at the implementation of the ban, were prohibited entry for days. Those planning to travel were also dissuaded from doing so until the ‘storm’ had passed and the intent of the Administration was clearly articulated.  Thousands of students were left stranded (Fischer, 2017).

The US as a study destination

The number of students who travel to another country to study is on the rise with five million travelling as at 2014 (The University of Oxford, 2015).  The United States receives the largest number of international students yearly, followed by the United Kingdom.

Crybaby Millennials
Crybaby Millennials

According to 2015 data from College Factual from the Department of Homeland Security cited in Stockwell (2017), 23,763 international students hailed from the countries affected by the travel ban, 15,773 of which are pursuing Bachelor degrees or postgraduate degrees in the US.  The greatest number hailing from Iran with 14,981. College Factual estimates that the economic benefit to universities for these Iranian students amounted to over US$700 million.  The United States is one of five countries that benefit from half of the five million students who studied abroad in 2014 (the University of Oxford, 2015).  Can you imagine the billions being made by colleges and universities annually?  What would happen if the ban suddenly expanded to include other countries, such as China and India?  As 1 in 6 international students is Chinese and 53 percent of international students are Asian (the University of Oxford, 2015), the financial fallout would be astronomical.  Universities are, however, fighting back.

Push Back Against the Ban

Universities are crying foul and have sought legal redress to stop President Trump’s Executive Order.  Seventeen (17) universities have legally challenged Trump’s travel ban. The universities argue that “their school missions and influence are “truly global” and the President’s Executive Order threatens “their goals of educating tomorrow’s leaders from around the world” (deHahn, 2017).  Signing an amicus brief were the top eight ivy league schools in the US plus nine other top ranking schools, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that is ranked number one by the Times Higher Education World league charts.  An amicus brief, Dehaun states, was a legal document signed by interested parties not involved in a direct litigation, but allowed to share their stance on a case where they feel a decision could affect them.

trumpjusticeMembers of the US judiciary are also pushing back, rendering the ban unconstitutional, allowing thousands to return to the classroom (Blumenstyk, Najmabadi & Brown, 2017).  On the foreign policy front lines, several countries have publicly denounced the act while some of the affected countries, like Iran and Iraq, are considering taking reciprocal measures to ban US passport holders and in the case of Iraq, the expulsion of US troops from the country (Brinkhurst-Cuff, Chulov & Dehghan, 2017).

What does that mean for us?

How does this affect Jamaica, you might ask? Currently, the travel ban does not pose a direct threat to Jamaicans.  Given the unpredictability of this President, however, the possibility exists that the drastic measures being implemented to ‘take back America’s borders’ may negatively impact us later. Short of the fact that a few hundred students from Jamaica study in the United States, the immediate fear is that the Trump administration may not stop at these seven countries, now six with the revised travel ban.  The Trump campaign has shown itself to be racially biased against minorities, so what is to stop the Administration from targeting other groups. After condoning the rhetoric of the ‘Wall’ and the ‘America First’ banter, millions are now witnessing what that entails, which is contrary to the mantra of ‘the land of the free’. The world is now seeing firsthand what happens when a ‘border’ closes.  Abuse of power against a particular group of people reminiscent of the early days of the Nazi empire.

trump1In its quest to protect ‘the people’, the US travel ban mirrors the persecution of ‘inferior’ groups by the Nazis in their pursuit to purify the Aryan race (Holocaust Encyclopedia, n.d.).  The point of this comparison is that the Nazis did not stop with its first targeted group, homosexuals, who were tortured and murdered; posing as moral crusaders, they then turned their attention to Jews and blacks.  In Trump’s “America First”, the ban may be a preview of what’s to come.

Jamaican visitors and students should expect heightened security and increased scrutiny at ports of entry, clear resultants of the ban.  J1 Work and Travel participants should also anticipate restrictions.  The amended travel ban places a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas to countries affected, but it is possible that visa restrictions may affect us as well.  Patel (2017) states that the political climate in the United States has instilled fear and reluctance among students, with one in three prospective candidates to US based universities indicating that they are less interested in studying there.

But ‘wha drop affa head, can drop pon shoulder.’ Jamaica should seek to garner ‘the spoils’ from this Executive Order.  The University of Oxford (2015) reports that interest to study in the US has been declining among international students, favouring instead countries like Canada and Australia.  ICEF (2015) says that “the nature of competition is shifting, with enrolment more widely distributed among a larger field of destinations, including a growing number of non-English-speaking countries.”  Jamaica should capitalize on this opportunity by ramping up its thrust of attracting more international students to the island, particularly from this affected group.  The Study Jamaica thrust to brand the island as a higher education destination may be the catalyst for breaking into this niche market.  Jamaica is a diverse society comprising all religious faiths and beliefs; a non-discriminatory country.

Changes in the ‘free world’ have ripple effects on the rest of the world.  It is possible that this ‘border’ closure will ricochet on other countries, hopefully in a positive way.  Whatever the future outcome, new emerging markets will continue to influence global student mobility.  The countries – and universities – that will benefit will be the ones that are most responsive – and accommodating.


Ansari, A., Robertson, N., & Dewan, A. (2017). World leaders react to Trump’s travel ban. CNN Politics. January 31, 2017. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/30/politics/trump-travel-ban-world-reaction/

Blumenstyk, G., Najmabadi, S. & Brown, S. (2017). Court rebukes Trump’s travel ban, and harm to universities plays a key role. The Chronicle of Higher Education. February 9, 2017. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/article/Court-Rebukes-Trump-s-Travel/239173?cid=RCPACKAGE

Brinkhurst-Cuff, C., Chulov, M. & Dehghan, S. K. (2017). Muslim-majority countries show anger at Trump travel ban. The Guardian. 29 January 2017. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/29/muslim-majority-countries-anger-at-trump-travel-ban

deHahn, P. (2017). 17 Universities file legal challenge to Trump’s travel ban. USAToday. 14 February 2017. Retrieved from http://college.usatoday.com/2017/02/14/17-universities-file-legal-challenge-to-trumps-travel-ban/

Fischer, K. (2017). Trump’s travel ban leaves students stranded – and colleges scrambling to help. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/article/Trump-s-Travel-Ban-Leaves/239039?cid=wcontentgrid_6_3list_6

Holocaust Encyclopedia (n.d.). Persecution of homosexuals in the third reich. Retrieved from https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005261

ICEF (2015). The state of international student mobility in 2015. Retrieved from http://monitor.icef.com/2015/11/the-state-of-international-student-mobility-in-2015/

Patel, V. (2017). Prospective international students show new reluctance to study in the US.  The Chronicles of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/article/Prospective-International/239468

Stockwell, C. (2017). What Trump’s travel ban means for thousands of international students in the US. USAToday. 3 February 2017. Retrieved from http://college.usatoday.com/2017/02/03/trump-travel-ban-international-students/

The Guardian (2017). Muslim-majority countries show anger at Trump travel ban.  January 29, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/29/muslim-majority-countries-anger-at-trump-travel-ban

The University of Oxford (2015). International trends in higher education 2015. Retrieved from https://www.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxford/International%20Trends%20in%20Higher%20Education%202015.pdf

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017. Retrieved from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2017/world-ranking#!/page/0/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats

Threat to International Student Mobility