Another Learning Network Centre was officially opened today (May 7) in the Hannah Town community of West Kingston, through which residents can improve their reading and writing abilities and gain marketable skills.
Located on the grounds of the Hannah Town Police Station, the facility, which was refurbished at a cost of $1.1 million, has space for as many as 12 computers and will cater to some 60 persons. Participants will learn to read through the use of an interactive educational software programme called autoskills.
The Hannah Town learning centre is the latest facility to be opened under a programme being spearheaded by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), which targets high-risk children and youth from violence-prone communities, who are performing below academic standards and/or have dropped out of school.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of Community Safety and Security, John McLean (left), cuts the ribbon to officially open the Hannah Town Learning and Network Centre on the grounds of the Hannah Town Police Station in Kingston on May 7. Others from second left are: District Constable assigned to the Hannah Town Police Station, Fay Francis Campbell; Director of Health Promotion and Education at the Ministry of Health, Takese Foga; and Chairman, Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), Dr. Elizabeth Ward.
Chairman of the VPA, Dr. Elizabeth Ward, said that in addition to increasing knowledge base, the programme has helped to improve the attitude of the participants.
She noted that community persons are more willing to become attached to the programme and make use of the services provided. “We have to provide access to the services and support at the community level,” she stated.
Director of Health Promotion and Education in the Ministry of Health, Ms. Takese Foga, encouraged the participants to make full use of the centre as it will create a significant difference in their lives, and empower them to make better choices.
“When persons are empowered with the basic skills, self-esteem is built, persons are better able to interact with others and, more importantly, persons are better able to make better and healthier choices,” she pointed out.
Resident of Hannah Town, Alecia Fagan (left), points out something of interest as District Constable assigned to the Hannah Town Police Station, Fay Francis Campbell (seated), operates one of the computers in the Hannah Town Learning and Network Centre. Occasion was the official opening of the centre located on the grounds of the Hannah Town Police Station in Kingston on May 7. Sharing in the moment are: Sub Officer in charge at the Hannah Town Police Station, Inspector Oliver Humes; and Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of Community Safety and Security, John McLean (right).
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of Community Safety and Security, John McLean, stated that partnership with the police in providing critical services to citizens is important in strengthening community relations.
He commended the focus on literacy, noting that the ability of persons to read and write will help to improve their condition.
The Learning Network Centre programme facilitates linkages to entrepreneurial and job placement opportunities, as well as skills training entities such as HEART Trust/NTA. Re-entry into the regular school system is sometimes made possible through the programme.
It also places strong emphasis on training in conflict management, leadership, healthy lifestyle and life skills to improve and strengthen inter-community relationships, especially among the youth.
More than 18 learning centres have been opened in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, St. Ann and St. Elizabeth, reaching about 400 persons.