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Adult Literacy Now at 87%

JIS - The Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) is reporting that the country’s adult literacy rate is now at 87 per cent.

Deputy Executive Director and Director of Education Services at the JFLL, Dr. Grace-Camille Munroe, said this is very positive, as the island is coming from a rate of 50 per cent in 1974.

She noted, however, that Jamaica is still lagging behind some of its Caribbean neighbours.

Dr. Munroe, who was addressing a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on August 23, said that in terms of Jamaica lagging behind, this affects the country’s productivity and competitiveness.

“According to organisations such as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, Jamaica needs to do more,” she emphasised.

“Therefore, the JFLL is modernising and expanding what we offer to ensure that where people live, move and have their being, they have access to education. Education is not just about literacy and numeracy; it is about life chances, it is about equipping adults to be able to make effective decisions that will impact their lives, their families, their workplaces and their communities,” Dr. Munroe said.

She pointed out that in 2014, the JFLL embarked on an ambitious endeavour by revising the more-than-40 year-old curricula, modernised its instructional material and retooled the offices to ensure that all who access JFLL programmes islandwide are better able to fend for themselves and move on to higher learning.

“So, we are on a mission to refocus our energy and rebrand ourselves,” Dr. Munroe said.

The JFLL, which has 34 centres islandwide, provides the opportunity for a second chance to adult learners to be able to find a better job or to transition to post-secondary education.

One such avenue is its High School Diploma Equivalency (HSDE) Programme that was launched in September 2014. This programme is geared towards adult learners 17 years and older.

The programme targets students who leave high school without certification, school dropouts, persons who want to access skills training, unattached youth and persons who are incarcerated.

Judith Hunter