JIS News

Minister of Education, Andrew Holness has emphasized that the right to education must be secured for all citizens, whether in the formal system, or access after leaving the public school system.
He was speaking, today (March 17), at the opening of the international conference on adult education, hosted by the Jamaica Council for Adult Education (JCAE), in collaboration with the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning and the HEART Trust/NTA. The three-day conference is being held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
Mr. Holness pointed out that lifelong learning is emerging as an important policy issue, as throughout the world, governments are actively encouraging citizens to continue to learn. He added that lifelong learning is a fairly new concept, and governments are grappling with how to formally institutionalize this, not just within the education system, but also in the social and economic system.
He said that as one of the skills and competences of lifelong learning, literacy is often reduced to the ability of just reading and writing, but “the literate person must be able to interpret and communicate.”
“The concept of lifelong learning, particularly that of literacy, plays an important part,” Mr. Holness emphasized.
The Minister said the lifelong learning strategy should be geared towards raising standards and attaining levels throughout the education system, promoting inclusion, access to, and widening participation in the education and training systems, thereby enhancing skills development and employability, developing a community focus, emphasizing citizenship and good attitudes and appropriate values.
“Most importantly, the lifelong learning strategy involves creating a learning organization,” he asserted, adding that this presents the challenge of how to make the workplace into an institution of learning.
“This is a challenge.for human resource planners to develop strategies. It requires business people to understand that the more educated and trained their members of staff are, the better the profits. That is going to take a great amount of education to achieve,” he stressed.
Mr. Holness pointed out that the greatest challenge for any society is how to achieve efficiency without sacrificing equity, and that this can only be achieved through education.
“That’s the only thing that is going to guarantee that you increase the efficiency of your human resources, which is the ultimate in improving your productivity and at the same time, secure the benefits of that productivity. So, the more we stress education from (age) zero to 100, the better our chances are of improving our efficiency along with equity in our society, and that is a major challenge,” he said.
The conference, which is being held under the theme, ‘The Learning City: a Vehicle for Community Transformation’, will discuss topics such as: ‘Family life in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean’; ‘Crime and violence (effects and counter trends); ‘Information and communication technology’; ‘HIV in Jamaica (progress and challenges)’; ‘Poverty and socio-economic development’; and ‘Learning for transformation’, among other subjects.

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