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KINGSTON — Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Senator Warren Newby, says it is important to create second-chance learning opportunities for Jamaicans who have missed out on their first opportunity in the education system.

"This is so because 70 per cent, or just about, of our first time job seekers do so without any certification. So many of them turn up at the workplace 'very qualified to do everything', and very rarely is there a post for someone who can do everything," he stated.

Speaking at the Adult Learners' Week Open Lecture, at the St. Andrew Parish Library, Tom Redcam Drive, Wednesday (September 28), Senator Newby also noted that more than half of graduates from secondary education institutions graduate, on an annual basis, without passing a single subject.

"It means that we not only have to reform the education system – as is the case today – to stop this conveyor belt system from producing persons who are not qualified, but it also calls on us to create second chances for persons whom the system has put out into society, to give them an additional opportunity to make good on their own dreams and aspirations," he suggested.

Senator Newby stated that more Jamaicans should focus on lifelong learning, as a way of life, rather than becoming complacent with the little knowledge acquired in school. He added that this is important, as there is need for constant upgrading and expansion of their knowledge.

"We can never be too old to acquire a new skill or to learn something new, and learning is a daily occurrence," he advised.

Director of Operational Planning and Performance Monitoring at the HEART Trust/NTA, Kenneth Morrison, said that adult and lifelong learning were critical, and that organisations like the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) and the Jamaican Council for Adult Education (JACAE) play significant roles in the society.

He said that while the agency seeks to provide skills training and certification for adults at a certain level, it cannot carry out its job if they fail to meet specified academic requirements.

"Your (JFLL and JACEA) role therefore is very important, and we stand ready to partner with you in whatever areas we can, to ensure that the role that you are playing can be further enhanced and made more effective and efficient, as we strive together for national development," he said.

Adult Learners' Week 2011 is being observed September 25 to October 1, and is organised by the JACAE under the theme "Lifelong, life-wide learning: Changing lives forever".

Activities include a Church Service at the Haven Hill Baptist Church, Mannings Hill Road, Kingston last Sunday, September 25, as well as an open lecture, which will be held on the theme, “Productivity enhancement through Literacy”, on Thursday, September 29 at the JFLL headquarters, South Camp Road.

 

By Athaliah Reynolds, JIS Reporter

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