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Education Ministry partners with OAS to establish youth innovation centres

Published:Monday | January 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is moving to transform its 11 youth information centres (YIC) across the island into innovation centres, as part of plans to foster entrepreneurship among young people in Jamaica.

State Minister Floyd Green says the rebranding is being done through partnership with the Organization of American States (OAS) under its Democratizing Innovation in the Americas (DIA) Lab Project.

Launched in Jamaica in July 2017, the DIA Lab Project equips urban youth to be innovators by training them in cutting-edge technologies and giving them the tools necessary to transform their communities.




It targets young people ages 16 to 30, particularly in vulnerable communities, with the hope of transforming them into critical, creative and innovative thinkers.

The YICs, which provide free access to the Internet, serve as a focal point for the dissemination of information on youth issues and programmes, including educational training opportunities.

Green notes that the DIA lab concept is well-aligned with the ministry's vision for the youth centres.

"There are clearly similarities in what we want to do and what the OAS has been doing across the Americas in relation to their innovation labs, which has the same sort of focus on entrepreneurship and other things in terms of programming."

Additionally, Green says the ministry has been in discussion with the OAS "to see how we can align what we have planned with what they have done, and benefit from their expertise to see how we can merge ideas and expand our concept".

He asserts that plans were already under way to launch a pilot in three centres across the parishes of St James, Clarendon, and St Catherine early this year.

The pilot phase will be used to test and develop the model that will be rolled out in the various centres.

He says the rebranding will involve putting in additional personnel, such as persons with business training, who can help the young people, who have business ideas.