Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Grade-nine students to study entrepreneurship

Published:Monday | May 1, 2017 | 5:00 AM

Starting this September, grade-nine students will be able to study entrepreneurship as part of the school curriculum.

This is under the Junior Achievement Company of Entrepreneurs (JACE) Secondary Early Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) programme, which is a three-year agreement between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Junior Achievement Jamaica.

The initiative aims to transform and stimulate students and young adults' interest in business.

Speaking at the launch at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in St Andrew last week Thursday, minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green, said the initiative will create the next generation of entrepreneurs in the country.

He noted that the training will offer real-life experiences that will build knowledge, capacity, and confidence in young people and assist them in forming their own businesses.

Green said the ministry has been partnering with Junior Achievement Jamaica since 2009 and has seen the creation of more than 15 programmes islandwide.

"We have touched the lives of more than 50,000 young people, and we have placed the focus squarely on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and how they can transition into the workplace," he pointed out.

In the meantime, he informed that youth information centres will be transformed into innovation hubs this year.

"We are pushing innovation, creativity, social entrepreneurship; we are pushing the next generation of entrepreneurs. That is how we will treat with youth unemployment, and that is how we will bring the prosperity that we all seek," he said.

For his part, USAID director of the Office of Citizen Security, Andrew Colburn, said at the end of the three-year initiative, approximately 72,000 youth will be impacted with at least 1,900 student businesses being created, which will "enhance the hands-on, experiential learning experience for the students".

He said it will also assist in stimulating existing formal businesses.

In her remarks, project manager, JACE SEED, Yanique Taylor, said the 14-week programme will be taught by highly trained teachers and volunteers, and will be offered once or twice per week. She said it will also serve disconnected youth between the ages of 13 and 24.

Since 2009, Junior Achievement Jamaica has been offering the JACE programme as an after-school activity/club.

With USAID's support, and in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, the expanded format will see the integration of the programme in 168 high schools.

The JACE programme features a comprehensive in-class learning curriculum designed to teach the fundamental skills necessary to build successful enterprises, as well as the entrepreneurial skills necessary to earn and keep a job in high-growth career industries.