JIS News

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, has said that there are plans in place to improve the educational capacity, as well as the literacy rate in Western St. Mary.
Making his presentation in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate at Gordon House on June 24, Mr. Montague pointed to literacy and education as two of Western St. Mary’s greatest challenges. He said that the constituency has a 34 per cent illiteracy rate but “we are determined to correct this shortcoming.”
“We have entered into agreement with the company, ‘Head Space Jamaica,’ that is producing for us DVDs with literacy lessons to be distributed across the constituency. This programme is widely used in Latin America, endorsed by the Organization of American States (OAS) and developed by a resident of St. Mary – Mr. Everald M. Gowie,” Mr. Montague informed.
In addition, he noted that a literacy and numeracy programme, the Cuban ‘Yes, I Can’ programme, is to be delivered over a three-month period and is endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “I am grateful to the Government and the people of Cuba for this kind gesture,” the State Minister said.
Mr. Montague informed that trainers would be trained and that Grade Four teachers would be incorporated into the programme. He thanked the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT) and Digicel Jamaica, for their support in this venture.
Among other activities to improve the literacy programme is the setting up of a reading corner in every Grade Four classroom in all primary schools in St. Mary, he pointed out.
“Notable among our efforts is our involvement with (the) Microsoft Corporation to ensure that our children achieve full literacy,” Mr. Montague said. He thanked the company for the gift of 100 computers, which were used to create Community Access Points (informal internet cafes), and Cable and Wireless (C&W) for the donation of mobile phones for all the Computer Access Points, so that the internet could be accessed,” the State Minister said.
“We are excited about the possibilities of the programme as Microsoft is committed to continue offering training and other programmes to our citizens,” he added.
He further informed that the Excelsior Community College (EXED) recently opened a campus in Oracabessa. In addition, new training centres have been opened for the hospitality industry in Jacks River, Rio Nuevo (Cosmetology) and Boscobel, with a fourth to be opened in Charles Town in July of this year. At Three Hills, the HEART Trust/National Training Agency (HEART/NTA) will be conducting front office and general administration sessions later this year.
“A nursing programme is also on the way for the Wood Park Community Skills Centre at the Claude Stewart Maternity Centre, while the Lucky Hill community centre will focus on agriculture,” he added.

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