Reid encourages lifelong learning
With the country's adult literacy rate at 87 per cent, the Government is encouraging more Jamaicans to engage in lifelong learning in order to boost the island's competitiveness and productivity outputs.
"I'd love to see Jamaica develop a culture of learning, where we see people going back to school and doing some new courses. Every adult should be involved in at least three weeks of professional development," said Minister of Education, Youth and Information Ruel Reid.
He was addressing the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning's (JFLL) power breakfast on Thursday at Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew to commemorate International Literacy Day.
Reid said continuous learning would ensure a fully trained and certified labour force that would attract increased investments and employment.
This, he said, would assist in moving the country's per capita gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all final goods and services produced in a given year, from approximately US$5,500 and rival countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore, where per capita GDP stands at about US$40,000.
Reid noted that learning empowers adults by giving them the knowledge and skills to better their lives.
"It means, therefore, that adult education must be open, flexible and provide personally relevant opportunities to develop the knowledge, competences and dispositions that adults at all stages of their lives need and want," he said.
He pointed out that literacy enables youth and adults to engage in learning opportunities.
"This is why the Government doesn't want any barrier to education," he said, citing the provision of free education at the primary level and the removal of auxiliary fees for secondary schools.