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Some 600 persons from bauxite mining communities islandwide are to be trained under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed yesterday (August 26) between the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) and the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL).
This was disclosed by Executive Director of JFLL, Edward Shakes at a JIS Think Tank session today (August 27).
“We have signed an MoU with the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, where we will be dealing with persons from the bauxite mining areas across the island over a five year period, to treat with at least 600 members of those communities”, Mr. Shakes informed.
Under the agreement, the JBI undertakes to provide the direct input cost associated with the delivery of the literacy programme, amounting to $35,000 per person or approximately $21 million for 600 community members.
The literacy training programme is to start next week with two pilot groups of 15 persons each, in South St. Elizabeth, and Water Valley in St. Ann.
In terms of enrolment, he informed that the JFLL “will be partnering with their JBI local organisations called Community Councils. We will be working with these local councils in terms of mobilising and identifying those persons for the training,” pointing out that “for our part, we deliver, monitor and certify the training, so we think that’s an excellent model that we can work with, for other corporate entities that are so inclined.”
Being in an expansion mode, the Executive Director said, “we are expanding our work place programme as much as we can,” adding, “we are in discussion with quite a number of entities at this time.”
Noting for example, that “only this week we signed an agreement with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to train their persons,” he disclosed that JFLL was having discussions with companies in different sectors, citing the hospitality sector in particular, and the Foundation’s desire to focus more on the agricultural sector.
In reference to the ongoing discussions with private sector entities, Mr. Shakes was optimistic that “over the next few weeks we expect to have quite a number of those coming on stream.”
“As part of the strategy as well, looking down the road, we are going to introduce and expand our computer-aided programme where persons will be able to learn to read and learn to become numerate, by interacting with our computer software that is available and which we will be rolling out in our various centres,” he further disclosed.
An agency of the Ministry of Education with its genesis in the JAMAL Foundation, the JFLL has at its core, the provision of basic literacy and numeracy. However, due to changing global demands, the JFLL has been transformed into a lifelong learning organisation with new product offerings, such as Computer Aided Literacy (auto skills), Computer Studies, Workplace Education Programme, and a High School Equivalency Programme. Currently, the JFLL has 29 lifelong learning centres with more to be established soon.