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JIS News

Approximately 500 children from early childhood institutions in Eastern Westmoreland are being trained in basic computer skills, under a project being carried out by the Bluefields Peoples’ Community Association (BPCA).
The six-month project, which got underway at the beginning of the Easter school term in January, is estimated to cost some $600,000 and is being undertaken in partnership with the Canadian Jamaican Medical Assistance Society, under the theme: ‘Using information technology to promote sustainable community development’.
“The main purpose of this project is to improve and sustain the computer literacy of our children in Bluefields and surrounding communities,” said Chairman of the BPCA, Keith Wedderburn.
Five early childhood institutions – Bluefields, Cave, Culloden, Mearnsville and Whitehouse, are being targeted under the project, which involves the use of the computer to complement the general school curriculum, thereby facilitating learning in several subject areas. The schools are provided with transportation subsidies to improve student attendance.
Mr. Wedderburn told JIS News, that the students attending the training are very excited and they demonstrate an eagerness to learn.
“The initiative is expected to help boost their self-confidence and at the same time, enhance their school performance. It is also envisaged that the computer skills learned under the project will allow students to access information and knowledge, and be better prepared to grasp job opportunities when they become adults,” Mr. Wedderburn stated.
He said in addition to the 500 students involved in the training programme, a number of young people and adults, who have shown interest, are expected to benefit from training at a minimal cost.
The BPCA computer training project was first implemented in 2004 with funding from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), and to date, more than 1,000 students have been trained in basic computer skills.
In the meantime, Mr. Wedderburn informed that the organisation is making plans to re-launch its information technology quiz competition, which will be carried out among participating schools.