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  • Students, public sector workers and various professionals are to benefit from the staging of the Population Planning for Development in Jamaica conference from January 25 to 27 at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.
  • Co-Chair of the organising committee, Dr. Godfrey St. Bernard, told JIS News that the conference is an attempt to fill the information gap in terms of Caribbean population matters.
  • The Co-Chair said that a main outcome of the conference is the production of materials presented to facilitate the needs of secondary and tertiary-level students.

Students, public sector workers and various professionals are to benefit from the staging of the Population Planning for Development in Jamaica conference from January 25 to 27 at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

The three-day event will focus on human population issues in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

Targeted are students from tertiary-level institutions; sixth-form students particularly those studying geography, sociology, environmental sciences and related disciplines; and professionals in these fields.

Co-Chair of the organising committee, Dr. Godfrey St. Bernard, told JIS News that the conference is an attempt to fill the information gap in terms of Caribbean population matters.

He said that teachers and colleagues from the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) lament that there is limited data, studies and research on the subject to serve the needs of students “so we are trying to fill that gap.”

“We also need to inform the next generation that there are professions out there that they can aspire to, such as becoming a demographer, social worker, social policy analyst, development policy specialist, among a number of other allied professional skills,” Dr. St. Bernard said.

He added that the conference is also targeting public sector workers from the various Ministries, non-governmental organisations, faith-based entities and the international community particularly international organisations based in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

The Co-Chair said that a main outcome of the conference is the production of materials presented to facilitate the needs of secondary and tertiary-level students.

The meeting will feature plenary sessions, panel discussions and presentations from experts in various fields including statisticians, demographers, sociologists, economists, philosophers, gerontologists and lawyers.

Four professionals within the statistics and social work fraternity in Jamaica will be honoured at the conference.

They are the late Professor George Roberts, who is considered to be the ‘father of Caribbean demography’; Professor Chukwudum Uche, former professor of demography in the sociology department at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona; Hermione McKenzie, former social worker; and Dr. Valerie Nam, who was largely responsible for a number of the Jamaican population censuses and worked at Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) up to 2011.

“We are having four plenary sessions that will celebrate the work that they have done…these sessions will feature speakers, who will address the team associated with the work of these honourees,” Dr. St. Bernard informed.

The conference is being spearheaded by the UWI Mona in partnership with STATIN, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).