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News for Week of August 8, 2021
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Digital skills training coming for thousands

Over 150,000 Jamaicans are to benefit from a five-year Digital Skills Programme being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Microsoft.

The objective is to equip persons will the digital skills needed to fill in-demand jobs.

Education Minister Fayval Williams said that about 31,000 persons will be trained each year up to 2026, gaining valuable skills to participate in a digital future.

She said that over 62 trainers will be equipped with the necessary knowledge to impart training to the participants.

“The aim is to have these persons trained in one or more of the four courses offered, based on their level of learning. There is no age limit, and there will be no barriers to entry,” she said.

The Education Minister said that the programme, which will improve the employment prospects of the beneficiaries “is most welcomed” as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taught valuable lessons about the benefits of a digitised society.

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JamaicaEye expands to more communities

The Ministry of National Security is steadily increasing the network of cameras that are a part of the country’s national closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance programme, dubbed ‘JamaicaEye’.

The public-private partnership, launched in 2018, is designed to network CCTVs owned by the Ministry as well as accommodate feed from privately owned cameras.

Right across the island where the cameras have been installed, members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are leveraging the cameras to assist their investigations of crime and maintaining public order.

The feeds provide useful footage in relation to criminal activity and other emergencies and are monitored by a team of security professionals.

Senior Director in the Major Technology Transformation Branch at the Ministry of National Security, Arvel Grant, said that the number of cameras has grown from 180 at the launch to 840 currently.

He notes that CCTVs were recently installed at strategic locations in Santa Cruz and Black River in St. Elizabeth, and they will be brought fully online by the end of July.

Mr. Grant says that expansion continues through both Government-owned cameras and private partnership.

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Officials continue plan for new census

e-Learning Jamaica Limited (e-LJam) has partnered with the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) and the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information (MoEYI) for the procurement of electronic devices to be used in the 2022 National Census.

“The responsibility of e-LJam in this project is to procure 7,525 tablets, 40 charging carts, 40 projectors and 4,000 power banks for the upcoming census, using government procurement guidelines,” Acting Chief Executive Officer of e-LJam, said Andrew Lee.

Deputy Director-General of STATIN, Leesha Delatie-Budair explained that a memorandum of understanding was signed by all three entities and the devices will be donated to the education ministry to support the Tablets in School Programme, once the census is completed.

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Jamalco Scholarships
Jamalco Scholarships

Cherrise Martin, student at the University of Technology, accepts her scholarship confirmation letter from Managing Director of Jamalco Austin Mooney. Jamalco has awarded some J$13 million in scholarships, bursaries and assistance with back-to-school items to early childhood, primary, high school and tertiary level students in Clarendon and Manchester.

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Back-To-School
Back-To-School

From left: Danielle Coward, tTech Limited human resource coordinator; Samantha Jones, sales and marketing associate; and Gillian Murray, marketing manager at a back-to-school donation drive at the Yallahs High School in St Thomas.

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Pineapples
Pineapples

A representative from the Annotto Bay Fire Station shows off her freshly picked JP St Mary’s pineapple alongside JP St Mary’s Assistant Depot Manager Simone Saunderson during a handover of care packages with the vitamin C-rich fruit to the Fire Brigade. The donation by JP St Mary’s is part of an overall initiative to encourage essential workers to eat healthy foods to boost their immune systems.

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Jamalco Scholarships
Jamalco Scholarships

Cherrise Martin, student at the University of Technology, accepts her scholarship confirmation letter from Managing Director of Jamalco Austin Mooney. Jamalco has awarded some J$13 million in scholarships, bursaries and assistance with back-to-school items to early childhood, primary, high school and tertiary level students in Clarendon and Manchester.

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Jamaicans urged to take their health seriously

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton says that the crisis of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is an economic problem and a challenge for development more broadly.

He said that the household burden of NCDs has pushed a significant number of people globally into poverty, noting that it has also affected labour productivity and the earning and saving potential of many Jamaicans.

“Estimates have shown that the economic impact of NCDs in Jamaica, including mental-health conditions, will lead to a lost output of US$17 billion over the next 15 years,” he said.

The Minister said that a healthy population with greater longevity can lead to increases in the country’s national saving rates. He argued that a healthy people have a greater incentive and potential to save, noting that the East Asian economic success is partly attributed to this critical factor.

Police making it easier to get criminal records

The upgrading of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Automated Palm and Fingerprint Identification System is in progress and will come on stream in September.

Senior Director in the Major Technology Transformation Branch at the Ministry of National Security Arvel Grant said the Automated Palm and Fingerprint System serves the JCF as a forensic tool as well as a resource to provide information on criminal record history.

Mr. Grant said the upgrade is “bringing more efficiency to the process of generating criminal records”.

Automated palm and fingerprint identification systems are used by law-enforcement agencies for criminal identification purposes, the most important of which is the identification of a person suspected of committing a crime or linking a suspect to other unsolved crimes.

“When you go to the Criminal Records Office to get your police report, really this is the system that helps the officers to produce those records. These police records are required for certain purposes, for job prospects, travel, et cetera, so we are making that process more efficient, removing all the dated equipment, upgrading the equipment, implementing new algorithms to make the system more efficient and that is coming on stream September this year,” he noted.

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