JIS News

It is said that “a good education is the key to success” and, as such most, if not all able bodied persons always strive for the best in educational opportunities for themselves and their children, with a view to realizing social, economic and other improvements in their lives.
Whereas for persons with all their physical faculties intact, achieving a good educational training can be easy for some, and not so easy for others based on their learning abilities, one can imagine the degree of difficulty there is for persons not so fortunate to have all their physical faculties intact, to achieve a good educational start in life.
In such cases special attention, care and tutoring, which calls for great patience, skill and professionalism, are necessary to assist those unfortunate ones with their disabilities.
This is where the work of the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf, located in the tough inner-city community of Granville, St. James, becomes important, as it caters only to youngsters with hearing disabilities, trying to prepare them for life in general, and how to become independent, productive individuals.
With approximately 164 public educational institutions in the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) region 1V, which takes in the parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland, the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (CCCD) holds the distinction of being the only MOE recognized institution of its kind in the parish of St. James.
It started operating in 1990, receiving its first student in 1994 and, based on its recognized independent school status by the MOE, it receives a stipend from that ministry as a form of financial support and constant monitoring and supervision from an assigned Education Officer.
The Granville institution is one of three such institutions catering solely to deaf persons, being operated by the Caribbean Christian Centre, a non-government organization. The others are in Kingston and Knockpatrick, Manchester.

Students of the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf, in Granville, St. James, communicating with each other through sign language, on the compound of their institution. The institution has been tutoring children with hearing disability since 1994.

The Granville school has 54 students on roll, ranging in age from 5 to 20 years, who are taught subjects like in any regular educational institution, but with a difference where all tutoring and instructions are given through sign language.
“They learn the normal subjects like in any normal school, but these we have to modify in order to teach them. We have subjects like Math, English, Language Arts, the sciences, etcetera, and then we have vocation areas,” Principal of the institution, Dorreth Russell, told JIS News.
“We have linked up with HEART Trust/NTA, and the subjects that we do are Food Preparation, Information Technology, Cosmetology and Sewing and next term we will be introducing Woodwork,” she continued.
She explained that the school receives its students mainly through referrals, word of mouth, some from the St. Christopher School for the Deaf, and also through its own outreach programmes, where it checks in homes and schools for students who are not performing, in a lot of instances, because they are deaf.
She went on to mention the latest in the educational achievements of students of the institution, which includes six of her students attending the University of The West Indies’ (UWI) Western Campus in Montego Bay.
“Right now we have some students who are doing a university project with the UWI. They are doing Early Childhood Education, six of them we have in the class right now. We do that with interpreters, and they are doing extremely well”, she boasted.

Students of the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf, in Granville, St. James, communicating with each other through sign language, on the compound of their institution. The institution has been tutoring children with hearing disability since 1994.

She explained that the prgramme of study is a one-year certificate programme, adding that the six students are the first deaf students to attend the UWI’s Montego Bay campus.
She informed that the whole idea of the deaf students attending the UWI Western Campus in Montego Bay is creating so much attention, to the extent that discussions are now taking place between the CCCD Granville Campus and the UWI with a view to having the implementation of a sign language programme on the university campus.
But with the CCCD Granville being a residential learning institution, the question was asked of The Principal, Mrs. Russell, as to “how costly is it to the parents of the students”?
She explained that it is quite minimal as the Caribbean Christian Centre seeks sponsorship for the students, both locally and overseas, and the Granville institution tries various fundraising efforts to help in underwriting some of its expenses.
She also pointed out that the current economic crisis is having an effect as, even with the minimal $12,000 per term asked per student, some parents cannot afford it. On top of that, the level of overseas sponsorship has fallen dramatically, as a number of original contributors to the cause are having their personal economic problems at this time.
She gave a commitment that the administrators of the schools will continue to do everything possible to keep the institution open and the students in school, but issued an appeal for the Jamaican community to play its part in assisting the institution and the students.
“The children in fact are our children, and we need to care for them”, she stated.
She explained that persons wishing to contribute to the cause can contact the Caribbean Christian Centre in Knockpatrick, Manchester, or Granville, St. James.
To compliment the academic achievements of the students of the CCCD, Mrs. Russell also proudly pointed to the school’s shelves full of trophies won in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Arts competitions.
The school has won trophies in dancing, both nationally and locally; for Best School; best dancers; best choreographed; and top dance teacher, among others.
Sign language classes are taught at the CCCD Granville campus twice per week.

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