Serious initiatives will have to be undertaken to rescue young people who are among the majority of the country's population.

This was stated by Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, as she addressed Kingston Bookshop Teachers’ Luncheon, held at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, on May 8.

“The majority of the country’s population is under 30 years old, close to 60 per cent; 75 per cent of the crimes in the city are committed by persons under 30 years old; 70 per cent of them left school without any skill in 2011; while 70 per cent of the labour force is unskilled,” the Minister observed.

Ms. Hanna  urged teachers to become an integral part of the solution by utilising information and communications technology, not only as a tool for delivering quality education, but as a means “to prepare students for the world of work in the increasingly competitive global economy."

Referencing a report by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the Minister said that the global economy is set to earn US$2.2 trillion from creative and media related industries and that “Jamaica as a brand is contributing to that economy,” and must increasingly prepare its youth to exploit the opportunities.

The Minister said that Jamaican teachers and students, both at the primary and secondary level, must realise that they are competing with the child from the region as well as from developed countries.

“When you talk about the internet, twitter and face book…the world has moved so fast in what we download at school. The global economy and the virtual economy has created another landscape for students and young people to launch into,” she declared.

The Minister encouraged teachers to speak the language of the youth and to adopt new and creative approaches to the teaching process.

Alluding to the recent launch by the Ministry of  ‘Digital Jam 2.0,’ the Minister said that a major focus will be on equipping young people to embrace opportunities in “creative industries such as photography, music, videography, as well as skills that can generate self employment…how to build applications, how to utilise the virtual economy and how to build a business."

“There is more that we can give to our young people…they are not going to sit around and wait. You have to teach them new technologies in farming, you have to teach them new technologies in mathematics, you have to teach them new technologies in geography and make it more exciting,” she said.


By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter

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