Regional

MP Dayton Campbell launches night school

BY RENAE DIXON Sunday Observer Staff Reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, December 15, 2013    

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BROWN'S TOWN, St Ann — With a mother who was a domestic helper and a father who is still incarcerated Member of Parliament, Dr Dayton Campbell admits to knowing the power of education, and as a result, education will be his number-one priority as long as he represents the people of North West St Ann, he pledged Friday.

It is with that belief that the member of parliament has set out to launch several educational initiatives in his constituency, in spite of possible criticisms.

"I am putting forward the education of the people as the main thing I am focusing on," Campbell told people attending the launch of the St Ann North Western's Empowerment Programme Skills Training and Night School.

Campbell said that he was willing to risk his political future for the development of his constituents, many of whom sit idly daily, lacking skills to enter the workforce.

Campbell, who has already started the education programme in the constituency, is funding it through his Constituency Development Fund, in partnership with Red Stripe's Learning For Life, and Bars To Go.

Dr Campbell lauded the organisations for their partnership.

He said that 750 people will attend the night school, which will be offering two subjects at the CSEC level --Mathematics and Principles of Business.

Over 600 people are expected to participate in the skills training programme, which will see them receiving certification from the NCTVET.

"Their lives will only be better if they educate themselves," he emphasised.

Some 400 persons will be included in a remedial programme expected to start next year. With that number, approximately 2,000 persons will be benefitting from educational programmes implemented by Dr Campbell; currently there are 250 persons enrolled in a skills training programme which was launched earlier this year.

Centres for classes will be at Addison Park in Brown's Town, Discovery Bay All Age School, Runaway Bay All Age and Bamboo Primary and Junior High, to allow easier access to people in the constituency. Classes are expected to start January 2014.

Campbell pointed out that there were no limitations to the programme, except that persons needed to be a part of the constituency.

He said that the objective of the night school is to develop people so that they can matriculate into tertiary institutions.

"I am encouraging you to grasp the opportunity and make use of it," Campbell told members of his constituency who turned out for the launch on Friday.

He said that English Language and Office Procedures will be offered in the night school programme, following the completion of the first batch of students.

"We are trying to put forward a programme that persons can be in a much better position," he added.

The first-time member of parliament, while happy with the start of the programmes, said that he will not be satisfied until the people in his constituency are certified and employed.

"I am not yet satisfied; I will be satisfied at the end when they are certified and we can facilitate some of them getting some internship in the hotels and when we can facilitate some of them getting jobs locally and internationally," he stated.

Constituents have expressed their joy at having the educational programmes implemented.

"A lot of people are unemployed; in the future they will need certificates. This programme will help you to get a certificate and a job so you can help your family. It's a good programme," Melissa Richards, a participant in the programme, stated.

Nicola Foster, student at the St Christopher's School for the Deaf, speaking on behalf of other students from the institution who will be participating in the programme, said that she was happy that the deaf community was also included by the MP.

"I think it is a good programme for the deaf community, because deaf people also need to advance themselves," she stated.

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, who also attended the launch on Friday, lauded the efforts of Dr Campbell and encouraged people to fully utilise the second chance that they now have of getting an education.

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