Fri | Oct 22, 2021

Marleys open learning centre in Trench Town

Published:Friday | February 7, 2020 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Shallon McFarlane an 11-year-old resident of Rema seems to be listening in on the book being read by the late Bob Marley who is represented on a mural reading to a group of students. The painting decorates a perimeter wall at the Cornerstone Learning Centre at the intersection of East Road and 4th Street in Trench Town, Kingston.
The ribbon cutting was an all-round happy occasion during Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Cornerstone Learning Centre at the intersection of East Road and 4th Street in Trench Town, Kingston. Sharing in the occasion with the children are (from left) executive director of Ghetto Youths Foundation, Eva Silverstein; Julian Marley; Member of Parliament for St Andrew South Mark Golding; Donesha Prendergast and Rohan Marley.
Children in the Cornerstone Learning Center await their chance to use the computers, following Wednesday’s ground breaking ceremony. Even though not yet operational the project - the brainchild of Stephen, Damian and Julian Marley - is fully equipped with wifi service and was timed to coincide with the eve of their father Bob Marley’s 75th birthday anniversary.
This youngster is engrossed in the computer game he is playing in the lab.

“Education is the pathway to freedom, and every child deserves the opportunity to walk down that path”.

– Stephen Marley


This quote from one of Bob Marley’s sons has been a pivotal guiding ­principle behind the conception and design of the Cornerstone Learning Centre, located at the intersection of East Road and 4th Street in Trench Town, Kingston, according to executive director of the Ghetto Youths Foundation, Eva Silverstein.

Stephen and his brothers, Damian and Julian, are the principals of Ghetto Youths Foundation which funded the state-of-the-art facility, designed with a flexible learning space in the form of an academic study hall, computer lab and learning library.

The venue, which had a soft opening on Wednesday, the eve of Bob Marley’s 75th birthday anniversary, will open its doors to students on Monday, February 17, in the very community where he was raised and began his musical career. It was designed with the purpose of providing learning and academic support, ­mentoring and guidance, and to encourage the youth from Trench Town to strive for excellence.

With very strong Wi-Fi signal already in place, the Cornerstone Learning Centre will definitely be a game changer for the inner-city community.

There is an academic study hall which can accommodate individualised study and tutoring or group classes, as well as test preparation. Then there will be a specialised PEP programme and remedial reading, according to Silverstein.

“That’s a large space that can accommodate 30-40 children and teachers at a time. Then there is the computer lab which is outfitted by Hotwire Communications with 4io laptops and 50-inch smart TVs for teaching. So, in addition to computer programming and computer ­literacy, we will also have a long-term and long-distance relationship with Hotwire, where they will be able to do remote teaching from Miami via the big-screen TVs and broadcast straight into the classroom here in Trench Town.”

Noting that the facility is a very significant investment in terms of the physical assets, the long-term vision is for it to last for generations, given the buy-in from the residents.

“This is not built for today. It is designed to accommodate expansion and was built by the community for the community. The blood, sweat and tears in the dirt are all from the people who live here and it is going to benefit their children.”

It will operate from Monday to Friday after school between 2:30 and 8:30, and on ­weekends when cultural and professional courses will be on tap. The offerings include remedial reading, mathematics, science, test preparations, PEP programmes and in-depth computer literacy programmes.

Acting chief education officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr Kasan Troupe, told The Gleaner that the Government fully endorses the initiative and will provide funding support by way of a stipend for the teachers who will be engaged in the classrooms.