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Chairman’s Report March 2004 – February 2005

5 years on

Jamaica 2K celebrated “5 years on” since the group was officially launched in May 1999, during the UK celebrations of Adult Learners Week. Faye Walters from the JAMAL Foundation was present to the launch of the fledgling organisation at the EVCAP Centre in Wolverhampton. The event included presentations on a range of issues, including support for adult education for Jamaicans in the UK and in Jamaica.

We shared the celebration of 5 years with Pastor Joe Aldred’s congregation in Handsworth.

Dr Pauline Christie, author of the newly published book “Language in Jamaica” was invited to the UK, along with Jamaica 2K’s Jamaica Co-ordinator, to the 3rd Jamaica 2K Conference in the “Valuing Caribbean Languages” series. This was held in Birmingham on Friday 26th March and launched the publication “Language in Jamaica” in the UK.

This publication was very timely, following the theme of the series of awareness raising annual conferences and activities we have run. This event enabled educationalists and professionals from legal and immigration services to consider the issues faced in the UK by Jamaican language speakers. The issues of interpreting and translation were also covered.

The Keynote speakers were:

• Dr Pauline Christie, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of the West Indies and author of many publications including: Language in Jamaica
• Professor Gus John
• Barbara Legister, Attorney at Law and co-founder of Patois Personnel
• Dr Nevel Vassall, Lecturer in Health Studies UCE.

The Conference was supported by:

• Birmingham and Solihull LSC
• City College Birmingham
• The Jamaica Cultural Association
• Birmingham Core Skills Partnership
• Promoting our Heritage

The focus of the conference was to present the situation today relating to use of Jamaican and Standard English, and the need to be bi-lingual.

The aim of the event was to provide information for those who work with Jamaican and other Caribbean Language speakers, to enable them to understand about these languages, to enable them to understand the issues related to English based Caribbean Languages and Standard English. They will also be able to address the misunderstandings that still prevail about the use of English vocabulary in many Caribbean Languages and the negative terminologies often used to describe Caribbean Languages.

We have asked Dr Pauline Christie to become an Honorary Member of the organisation in recognition of the contribution she has made to our work on “Valuing Caribbean Languages”.

In October 2004 Dr Cheryl Shelly Robinson worked with us and was keynote speakers at “Fun in the Sun” the first conference held on “Caribbean Children’s Literature” which supports our Family Learning developments.

Activities in Jamaica

Support for Government Ministry Departments

1  Post and Telecommunications Department

J2K’s support for the exciting new Postal Training Schools continued during the year, starting with initial consultancy and moving forward to prepare to receive computers.  This partnership with the Jamaican Government “Post and Telecommunications Department” aims to provide access to the public to use the training facilities set up by the PTD across the island.

The pilot is now set up in the Central Sorting Office in Kingston and HEART NTA have provided business based assessment for 2,000 PTD delivery workers, sorters and ancillary support staff, over 60% had reading levels below Grade 9 (14 years).  PTD staff can then enrol on JAMAL’s High School Equivalency Programme, making the PTD their biggest customer.  Staff will get free foundation training before moving on to HISEP.

2   Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture

Jamaica 2K ran a weeks training workshop in Summer 2004 at Shortwood Teachers College in Kingston.

This proved very successful and over 30 Fellows of the UFA were trained. They started to cascade to colleagues during the year and several met up again at the Independent Schools Conference in April 05 to run workshops for teachers there. Jamaica 2K supported Jackie Ranger, a UFA trainers to attend and support them.

We also have to thank Pansy Benn from ARAWAAK Publications, for her support and encouragement.

James Walsh, Principal, Brown’s Town Community College is a keen supporter of UFA and is running a Summer School at his College. He visited the UK and visited UFA.

The Registrar of Independent Schools invited 2 staff City College from the UK to run workshops at their Annual Conference in April 05. Jamaica 2K supported this visit.

3     Adult Literacy support

Meetings were held to progress the establishment of a formal link to support the JAMAL Foundation (adult literacy providers in Ja.) Liz Millman has continued  to be a consultant for the JAMAL Foundation, including developments on e- learning materials and assessment.  The Jamaican Sustainable Development Network also worked with us on ICT software development.

Links with Offender Education in the UK were established during Melvah Blake’s visit to the UK.

Support was also given by Jamaica 2K friends, to provide chairs for the new IT centre at the International School of Jamaica in Port Maria.

4     University of the West Indies

The “Valuing Caribbean Languages Project” has continued to go from strength to strength. Links between Professor Hubert Devonish at the UWI Jamaican Language Unit and the UK supported the development of the Jamaican Language and Culture course.

Assistance is also being given to support the development of the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) in Jamaican, working with the Institute of Linguists in UK.

Support with the “Caribbean Children’s Literature” project continues, with close links with Dr Cheryl Shelly Robinson.

In all, a very busy year. Thanks go to all the organisations we have worked with and to the individuals in the UK and in Jamaica who have given so freely of their time, skills and enthusiasm.

Stephen Brooks
Chairman Jamaica 2K

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