JIS News

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture’s flagship youth programme, Operation Phoenix has been making significant strides in empowering young people across the island.
State Minister for Education, Dr. Donald Rhodd, in his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 28, said that the programme had facilitated the establishment of Youth Information Centres (YIC), to provide young people with access to computer/internet, counselling and referral services, monthly youth empowerment sessions as well as information on health issues including HIV/AIDS.
Since 2003, two YICs have been established in St. Mary and Portmore, St. Catherine, with more than 15,000 users and Dr. Rhodd said the intention was to establish similar facilities in every parish within the next two years.
“During the course of this year, three more centres will be opened in Kingston and St Andrew, Portland and another in St James. The Kingston andSt Andrew centre has been completed with state of the art equipment and will be opened next month,” he told the House. Contracts totalling $10 million have already been signed for the establishment of YICs in Portland and St James and preparatory work has began in St. Thomas and St. Elizabeth.
Operation Phoenix has also facilitated the establishment of the National Youth Council (NYC), and as Dr. Rhodd explained, “the organization has been reviving and reorganizing the youth clubs throughout Jamaica, through its 13 councils”.
On another matter, the Education State Minister hailed the efforts of traditional youth organizations such as the Boys’ Brigade, the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), the Girls’ Guide, and the Cadet Corps for venturing into inner city communities last year with youth development programmes.
Meanwhile, he noted that government continued to reach young people in schools through the National Secondary Student Council (NSSC), the Jamaica Union of Tertiary Students (JUTS) and many other traditional youth clubs and societies such as the Duke of Edinburgh programme, 4-H, Tourism Action Club and the Inter-Secondary Schools Christian Fellowship. Those persons not in school will be reached through the YIC, the NYC and the National Youth Service (NYS).
In respect to the NYS, Minister Rhodd informed that the organization would be training a new corps of youth workers, who will be going into all communities and working with the Social Development Commission (SDC) and other agencies to retrain young people in areas such as leadership and entrepreneurship.