More Adults Attending Literacy Centres

Story Highlights

  • More adults are ignoring the stigma attached to literacy centres and have been taking up the opportunity to further their education.
  • Mr. Williams tells JIS News that it was difficult at first to attract the very people the organisation was designed to cater for, as many were simply ashamed to be seen going to a literacy centre.
  • Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says no one should feel ashamed to go to the literacy centres, as it is always a proud moment when someone wants to improve his or her status in life.

More adults are ignoring the stigma attached to literacy centres and have been taking up the opportunity to further their education.

Principal of the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) Facility in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, Oliver Williams, says the centre, located on Barracks Road, now operates on a shift system, so as to accommodate the many adults who can only attend classes after work.

“We have it set up where we can meet the needs of those who can attend the early shift and also those, mainly the adults, who have to go to work in the morning and can only attend classes on the later shift. We are all about lifelong learning and we are here for anybody who wants to further their education,” he tells JIS News.

The Principal adds that he is grateful to the European Union (EU), and the Sugar Transformation Unit (STU) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for the building and refurbishing of additional classrooms to provide more space for the increasing number of adults and teenagers.

The EU and the STU, on January 8, officially opened three new classrooms and a computer lab at the facility, valued at nearly $4 million. On hand for the opening were: Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites; Head of Delegation for the EU, in Jamaica, Ambassador Paola Amadei, State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Luther Buchanan, and Member of Parliament for Central Westmoreland, Mr. Dwayne Vaz.

Mr. Williams tells JIS News that it was  difficult at first to attract the very people the organisation was designed to cater for, as many were simply ashamed to be seen going to a literacy centre.

“We have to remember that the JFLL is basically an offshoot of JAMAL. As with JAMAL, where there was the stigma of being a place for those who just simply couldn’t cut it at mainstream schools or just a place for the dull and the illiterate…we have had to contend with that same kind of perception with JFLL. However, with the knowledge now that they can do their CXC subjects and where the possibility exists that they can leave here for tertiary institutions, we are now seeing less and less of that stigma,” he adds.

Mr. Williams says it is a pleasure to see “grown adults” now voluntarily walking into the JFLL centre registering for classes and expressing a desire to improve their literacy skills.

“It is a humbling experience, at least for me, when somebody can admit or recognise their own limitations and come and seek the required assistance…that is what the JFLL is here for,” the Principal tells JIS News.

For her part, 54-year-old student, Sharon Hall, says she is grateful to JFLL for  giving  her the opportunity to further her education. “I personally wanted to upgrade myself…take on the challenge and prove that life doesn’t stop at age 50. I am a proud student at this facility and my life is much richer for the experience,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says no one should feel ashamed to go to the literacy centres, as it is always a proud moment when someone wants to improve his or her status in life.

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