JIS News

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  • Up to 10,000 Grade 5 and 6 students will, this school year, have the opportunity to get a practical feel of how the economy functions, through an experiential learning programme, which was launched on October 28, by Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ).
  • The programme, ‘JA BizTown’, is the first of its kind outside of the United States, in the Latin American and Caribbean region. It was conceptualized by JAJ and the Rotary Club of Kingston and approved by the Ministry of Education.
  • The programme involves a four-week learning experience, which will increase students’ knowledge of how the economy works, the importance of education in pursuing a career, and how to conduct everyday transactions, which involve filling out forms, among other activities.

Up to 10,000 Grade 5 and 6 students will, this school year, have the opportunity to get a practical feel of how the economy functions, through an experiential learning programme, which was launched on October 28, by Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ), at the Caenwood Centre, in Kingston.

The programme, ‘JA BizTown’, is the first of its kind outside of the United States, in the Latin American and Caribbean region. It was conceptualized by JAJ and the Rotary Club of Kingston with approval from the Ministry of Education.

Land for construction of the JA BizTown facility was provided by the Ministry at 37 Arnold Road. It features storefronts of businesses of various types. The facility was also officially handed over to JAJ today, by the Rotary Club of Kingston.

The programme involves a four-week learning experience, which will increase students’ knowledge of how the economy works, the importance of education in pursuing a career, and how to conduct everyday transactions, which involve filling out forms, among other activities.

Students will be taught concepts, such as: citizens responsibilities and rights, savings and investment, banking, ethics, conflict solving, networking, taxes, and other principles of the world of work; trade, and the economy.

According to the conceptualizers of the programme, the children will be taught age-appropriate business, financial and workforce readiness concepts, which will help them to master academics and make good decisions in everyday transactions, while preparing them for the future.

JA BizTownN was tailored from the United States model, to suit the Jamaican concept.

Addressing the launch, Member of Parliament for the area, and State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon, Julian Robinson, welcomed the programme and the facility, noting that it dovetails into the Government’s thrust to engender and develop entrepreneurship skills in the country’s youth.

“Any programme which introduces entrepreneurship, which facilitates innovation, which allows our students to develop and create their own opportunities, is more than timely,” he said.

“I am proud as a Jamaican, because this is the type of project which needs to be replicated across the country, and that other countries can use this as a model for their own development,” the State Minister added.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, emphasized that education and training must be geared towards the demands of the global economy.

“It is for the education system to listen to those who see the openings in economic development, and to say – what are the skills that you need us to educate for – so that all our students can be ready to fill the available jobs, and very importantly, to create the jobs that are possible in our society,” he asserted.

President of JAJ, Alphie Mullings, emphasised that the JA BizTown curriculum was carefully created.  “It parallels with exactly what the teachers are teaching. This is not something that we are simply taking and inserting…this is a Jamaican project,” she said.

The programme represents more than $70 million in investment for the business and financial education of students. The JAJ is currently training teachers from various primary and preparatory schools to deliver the JA BizTown programme, and pair it to Ministry of Education curricula.

For four weeks, students will spend several hours learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics under the JA BizTown curriculum, following which they can apply for “jobs” at the JA BizTown facility, where teachers will assign jobs in preparation for a one-day business simulation exercise for each student.

The first batch of students will visit JA BizTown next month, with the aim being to eventually facilitate up to 40,000 annually.