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The Boys’ Town Telecentre/Computer Lab, which allows residents to have access to a wealth of information by the click of a button, was officially opened today (November 30).
Located at Hugh Sherlock Hall on Collie Smith Drive in Kingston, the telecentre/computer lab provides a means for community members, especially young people, to improve their education, acquire skills and participate in interactive communication with Government agencies, educational institutions and other bodies that provide information and services on the internet.
Chairman of the Project Steering Committee, Boys’ Town Foundation, Trevor Spence said the facility is being used as a community access point by members of varying age groups within the community.
“They are using it in the day for the remedial education for the autoskills. In the evenings the students of the high school use it for their research and School Based Assessments (SBAs), and community members use it in the nights,” he said, pointing out that printing facilities are also available. He added that the facility has made a difference in the lives of the residents.

President of the Boys’ Town Past Students Association, Junior Lincoln (left), in discussion with Managing Director, Universal Access Fund, Hugh Cross during the official opening of the Boys’ Town Telecentre/Computer Lab at the Hugh Sherlock Hall on Collie Smith Drive, in Kingston, on November 30.

Head, School of Public Health and Health Technology at the University of Technology (UTech), Professor Winston Davidson said it is a milestone project in examining the assistance being given to marginalised young persons within the inner-city.
“The computer presents the very essence of the interactive learning and what we have noticed is that especially the young boys in our programme, they have caught on to using the computer with such ease that they don’t even want to leave the computer room,” he said, lamenting that technology gap is seen as one of the most important gaps to be filled if a country is going to be globally competitive.
Community member, Raquel Lewis said that the computer lab is assisting participants to learn using the autoskills software, while researching for other classes.
“We are now able to do our homework and class work as well as play games and chat with friends we have not seen in a long time. We also have email addresses and Facebook accounts,” she said.
She related that before the opening of the computer lab, most of the participants of the Boys’ Town 15-18 Youth Development Programme normally head home when the programme is over, adding that this scenario has completely changed.
In September 2008, Boys’ Town Foundation (BTF) submitted a proposal to the Universal Access Fund Company Limited (UAFCL) to seek funding for the establishment of a telecentre/computer lab at the Boys’ Town Complex in Trench Town. UAFCL granted approval for the establishment for a total of $2.367 million.
In 2008, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Democracy and Governance Fund, HEART Trust/NTA, and the National Youth Service approved the Boys’ Town 15-18 Youth Development Programme.
The organisations agreed to fund the three-year project to promote youth empowerment through education, skills training, computer training, life skills and mentoring. The project was approved at a total cost of $107.068 million.