With thousands of young persons said to be wandering unattached across the island without any form of employable skills, the Ministry of Education is now looking to the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) to get this cohort back in the formal education system.
"There are over 140,000 young people who languish in unemployment, not only because of the depressed state of the economy in Jamaica and worldwide, but also because they are not sufficiently educated or skilled in certifiable ways," Education Minister Ronald Thwaites noted.
In addition to this, the minister reiterated that some 70 per cent of applicants to the HEART trust/NTA are turned down annually because they don't have the qualification of a grade nine education.
Thwaites said it was for this reason the JFLL's repositioning was critical at this juncture.
He noted that the JFLL's role must become far more comprehensive than initially conceived and it must now occupy a place of prominence in the minds of the populace.
He said the JFLL's flagship programme, the high-school equivalency diploma which was launched in July, will give persons who left secondary school without any qualifications a chance to gain marketable skills and increase the country's literacy and numeracy levels.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed director of the JFLL, Merris Murray, said the foundation would be embarking on a series of programmes to capture the 140,000 unattached youths and get them certified.