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  • With the country’s adult literacy rate at 87 per cent, the Government is encouraging more Jamaicans to engage in lifelong learning in order to boost the island’s competitiveness and productivity outputs.
  • Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid said continuous learning will ensure a fully trained and certified labour force that will attract increased investments and employment.
  • Senator Reid pointed out that literacy enables youth and adults to engage in learning opportunities.

With the country’s adult literacy rate at 87 per cent, the Government is encouraging more Jamaicans to engage in lifelong learning in order to boost the island’s competitiveness and productivity outputs.

“I’d love to see Jamaica develop a culture of learning where we see people going back to school and doing some new courses…  ; every adult should be involved in at least three weeks of professional development,” said Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid.

He was addressing the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning’s (JFLL) power breakfast yesterday morning (September 8) at Terra Nova Hotel All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew, to commemorate International Literacy Day.

Senator Reid said continuous learning will ensure a fully trained and certified labour force that will attract increased investments and employment.

This, he said, will assist in moving the country’s per-capita gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all final goods and services produced in a given year, from approximately US$5,500 and rival countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore where per-capita GDP stands at about US$40,000.

The Minister noted that learning empowers adults by giving them the knowledge and skills to better their lives.

“It means, therefore, that adult education must be open, flexible and provide personally relevant opportunities to develop the knowledge, competences and dispositions that adults at all stages of their lives need and want,” he said.

Senator Reid pointed out that literacy enables youth and adults to engage in learning opportunities.

“This is why the Government doesn’t want any barrier to education,” he said, citing the provision of free education at the primary level and the removal of auxiliary fees for secondary schools.

He said the Government, through its various agencies and departments will continue to provide avenues through which every Jamaican adult has access to education and lifelong learning opportunities.

The JFLL, which has 34 centres islandwide, provides the opportunity for a second chance for adult learners to be able to find a better job or access post-secondary education.

International Literacy Day is an observance of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to celebrate the progress made in increasing literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks at innovative solutions to boost literacy.

The day was officially declared in 1966, to actively mobilise the international community and promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.