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Photo Caption: Ricardo Dystant, chief of digital transformation and special projects, JN Bank, in conversation with Kerian Richards, a student in the Portmore Community College Accounting/Finance and Management programme, during the institution’s Accounting/Finance and Management Seminar held on August 17, 2023. The event was held under the theme: The Impact of Digital Transformation in Finance and Management at the institution in Portmore, St Catherine.  

Veteran educator, Corrine Richards, principal of Portmore Community College (PCC), is planning to develop a documentary exploring the history, relevance, and impact of the institution.  

Mrs Richards, an educator for 36 years- more than a decade of which has been spent in leadership, including eight years at the helm of the Greater Portmore, St Catherine-based college- made the announcement while greeting Accounting/Finance and Management final year students at a seminar they organised on August 17.  

“You will be hearing from us very soon because we want to tell your story. We want to show what the community college is producing,” she told the final year students pursuing undergraduate degrees in Business Administration. The seminar formed part of their final practical examination. 

Portmore Community College, established in 1992, has evolved into one of Jamaica’s affordable pathways to higher education, offering a variety of programmes ranging from continuing education, associate and bachelor’s degrees. It’s one of 10 institutions supervised by the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica and has a current student population of more than 2,400 students across its two campuses in Portmore and Old Harbour, St Catherine. 

Mrs Richards said despite a public perception about community colleges, these institutions have been doing high-quality work and producing graduates on par or even above what has been observed at other universities and colleges. Community Colleges had emerged in Jamaica in the 1970s to accommodate students pursuing sixth form studies but their programmes have today expanded beyond the country’s borders. 

“In today’s society where we have so much information online, some people still think that community colleges only offer CXC subjects and some technical certificates. They don’t even realize that we offer associate and bachelor’s degrees.” 

Corrine Richards, Principal of Portmore Community College delivered greetings at the Accounting/Finance and Management Seminar held at the institution on August 17 under the theme: The Impact of Digital Transformation in Finance and Management. The 2023 event was hosted by final year students pursuing the BSc in Business Administration in the Accounting/Finance and Management programme, as part of their final practical examination.

The principal told the audience that she has been privileged to watch many young people grow and develop, adding that it has been a rewarding experience, since leading the PCC, to watch her students complete their studies and move on to make a difference in society.  

Acknowledging that there are also challenges, the principal noted that “We’re working assiduously to address them, but at the end of the day you are our products and we’re proud of you.” 

She explained that through the documentary, the aim will also be to show how economical it is to pursue studies at community colleges and the outstanding graduates from these colleges. 

“Why spend three times the amount of money to go to a brand-name university when you could spend one-third [of that tuition] and get a very high quality education? We don’t have cheap fees, but we’re affordable offering the highest quality education and training and that is what we need to say,” she said. 

Ricardo Dystant, chief of digital transformation and special projects, JN Bank, who was a guest speaker at the seminar in August, also spoke to the value of getting a community college education, and commended Portmore Community College for hosting another successful seminar.  

“Attending one of our very affordable, globally accredited institutions like yours and going further to complete an international recognised certification makes you marketable anywhere. The degrees are recognised and on top of that you would have passed some of the best exams which tells others that you are qualified for the job.”  

JN Bank was a sponsor of the Accounting/Finance and Management seminar which was held under the theme: The Impact of Digital Transformation in Finance and Management. 

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