JIS News

A Learning Network Centre, which aims to improve the reading and writing abilities of young people in South St. Andrew and equip them with marketable skills, was officially opened today (Feb. 26) in Jones Town.
The facility, located on the grounds of the Admiral Town Police Station will benefit residents of Jones Town, Arnett Gardens, Torrington Park, Lincoln Avenue, Havana Town, among others.
It is the 20th such facility to be opened under a programme being spearheaded by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Violence Prevention Alliance, which targets high-risk children and youth from violence-prone communities, who are performing below academic standard and, or have dropped out of school.
The programme aims to improve and strengthen inter-community relationship especially among the youth and places strong emphasis on training in conflict management, leadership, healthy lifestyle and life skills.
Participants learn to read through the use of interactive educational software programme called autoskills.
Chairman, Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), Dr. Elizabeth Ward noted that in addition to increasing knowledge base, the Learning Network Centre programme has helped to improve the attitude of the participants.
She recalled a conversation with a young man, who said that while he was excited about using the technology “you know what I have noticed doc? Mi temper getting better, I don’t feel so vex, I’m not so aggressive.”
Director of Health Promotion and Education at the Ministry of Health, Takese Foga, encouraged the participants to make full use of the centre as it will make a significant difference in their lives.
She urged other stakeholders to build on programmes, which will be beneficial to the society on a whole “as empowering our youth is important.”
Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Omar Davies, who was the guest speaker at the opening, said that the centre will help to foster unity in the various communities while promoting literacy.
“There must be a common meeting place and this centre represents that and it is under the protection and supervision of the police officers and I think it will serve a very important role in that regard,” he said.
Dr. Davies, who is also Member of Parliament for the area noted that the centre will “open new opportunities” for the participants as they become more literate. “It is amazing when someone learns to read, suddenly there are possibilities,” he said, while urging those who will be using the computers to protect them.
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.
The Jones Town centre, which will have flexible open hours, will be operated by members of the beneficiary communities.

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