The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) will be launching an electronic civics centre later this year, in an effort to promote greater awareness about the rights, privileges, and obligations that Jamaicans have in a democratic society.
Minister of Information, Burchell Whiteman, who made the announcement during last Friday’s (Jan. 20) sitting of the Senate, explained that the civics centre will be an interactive website and would be targeted at educators and students.The anticipated effect of the facility, he said, would be “to strengthen and focus the civics education programme, which an earlier generation of students believe to have been weakened by it being embedded within a social studies curriculum.”
Meanwhile, the Information Minister lauded the work of the JIS, noting that the executive agency had responded positively to public sector modernisation. “Through its dynamic website, with more than four million hits per month, and a weekly electronic newsletter reaching some 240,000 subscribers, the agency plays a pivotal role in keeping a growing mixed-media audience of Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora informed about the programmes and policies of government,” he told members of the Senate. According to Senator Whiteman, persons living abroad have expressed satisfaction with the JIS website. “They welcome the JIS site, not only for government information about policies, but for the wealth of information that is happening in the country,” he noted.
Senator Whiteman also praised the JIS for having “achieved a new standard in the content, quality and volume of news and information that it disseminates on a weekly basis through media houses locally, regionally and internationally, and we have seen the recent supplements, radio and television reports on the Year in Review 2005.”
The Information Minister said that as a result of the use of information communication technologies, “the JIS has forged valuable alliances with the heads of government information services (GIS) throughout the Caribbean region; and is a leader in the promotion of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, regionally.”