Chairman’s Report 05 – 06
2005 saw us continuing to celebrate with our “5 years on” calendar and newsletter reminding us of the first 5 years of activity since getting going in April 1999 when we launched Jamaica 2000 during UK’s Adult Learner’s Week.
During the past year close links have been maintained between Jamaica and the UK through our Co-ordinators, Melvah Blake in Jamaica and Liz Millman based in the UK. Working with City College Birmingham has been a strength this year. As well as her role of Director of Faculty: Skills for Life, Liz Millman is now also the Co-ordinator of the College’s Caribbean links and is setting up a Focus Group for supporting educational activities in Jamaica. A small group from City College Birmingham were able to attend the Independence School’s Conference held in Montego Bay in April 05 working with Freda Jones and Blossom Rose our Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture . Contacts were maintained with colleagues from the Jamaican groups of the University of the First Age and with Dr Cherryl Shelly Robinson, lead on Caribbean Children’s Literature also supported the visit and Melvah Blake gave her full commitment to the UK delegation during the week.
Freda Jones and Blossom Rose from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture keep in close touch with Melvah and together they arranged for Liz and a colleague from City College Birmingham and Jackie Ranger from University of the First Age to support the Independent Schools Annual Conference.
Melvah has worked with a number of colleagues across the island, looking at ways that we can support community based learning opportunities. In her role as Director of Human Resources at the Post and Telecommunications Department, she has been active in setting up training centres for postal workers and the wider communities. The shipment of computers sent by City College Birmingham and a school in Birmingham eventually reached Jamaica in November went into the care of the Post and Telecommunications Department who paid the necessary importation fees. Melvah and her team got them checked out and sorted to get training centres set up with the PTD around the island. The computers we sent over have been key to this development. The first centre is due to be formally opened in March 06. Then the PTD will “donate” some of the PCs for community use. We will then review what to do next relating to computers based on these developments, as we have had so many false starts on this.
Melvah has also kept in touch with the International School of Jamaica in Port Maria. She and Liz were able to visit in April to see the progress being made there. Jamaica 2K was able to find some funds for chairs.
Melvah is also in contact with JAMAL, soon to be re-launched as the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning. Jamaica 2K is working with City College to provide Skills for Life and other resources for them.
In the UK Liz has worked with a group of teachers from the Association of Jamaican Teachers in the UK to set up, promote and run the first course in Jamaican Language and Culture. In March 05 an Open Evening was held for a new course “Jamaican Language and Culture” developed by the Jamaica 2K Training Team and the Association of Jamaican Teachers in the UK, hosted by City College Birmingham.
The event attracted a great deal of interest and was attended by over 50 people. 30 people signed up for the first programme and the course was very well received. The publicity was extensive. The course was featured in the Jamaican Sunday Gleaner and in the Birmingham Mail. Channel 5 were interested in filming and we had an enquiry from California and from others overseas for a distance learning course. One student travelled from Sheffield to take part in the course.
Professor Hubert Devonish at the Jamaican Language Unit at University of the West Indies is supporting these developments in the UK and Dr Pauline Christie has prepared the training pack to support awareness and understanding of Jamaican.
The original development team of Ann Morgan, Natalie Fagan, Trudy Hamilton and Daphne Edwards delivered this first course as a team. This group are experienced Jamaican teachers, part of the Association of Jamaican Teachers in the UK, and they also worked with Jamaica 2K on the ACKEE Project for community learning. They have dedicated many hours of time to this project, to develop the course and resources. Heather Reid joined the development team as a “facilitator” for the course and undertook the promotion. The team are highly skilled and passionate about this issue. Liz Millman continues to support the development of the project and maintains the links with City College, the UWI and a range of other contacts in the UK and Jamaica.
The course became recognised internationally as innovative and of real interest and value.
The past few years have seen a growing awareness about, and recognition of, the languages of the Caribbean. In Jamaica, the University of the West Indies has established the Jamaican Language Unit at the request of the Jamaican Government. This was the result of the representations made to the Joint Select Committee of the Parliament of Jamaica on the draft Charter of Rights (Constitutional Amendment Bill) on the need to include within the charter freedom from discrimination on the grounds of language, see www.mona.uwi.edu/dllp/jlu.
In the UK, thanks to the work of Jamaica 2K with support from colleagues at the University of the West Indies, Jamaican has been recognised as a language and listed by the Chartered Institute of Linguists and Jamaican speakers can undertake the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting. The Awarding Body Consortium (ABC Awards) have also recognised Jamaican and now lists Jamaican for their Practical Languages awards from Entry 2 to Level 3. These are QCA approved and funded by the LSC. City College Birmingham is keen to support this.
Jamaica 2K has now developed training materials and resources with support from the Jamaican Language Unit and the Association of Jamaican Teachers in the UK. These will support better understanding about Jamaican eg the ways it can be written, the grammatical structure, vocabulary etc. A series of conferences, seminars, training sessions and courses for teachers has now been planned for 2006 by the Jamaica 2K Conference and Training Team.
Approaches for support through “Skills for Life” for Caribbean languages speakers has also been developed by the Jamaica 2K Training Team as “English for Speakers of Caribbean Languages (ESOCL)” based on a combination of the Adult Literacy and the ESOL Core Curriculum documents. See the latest NRDC Research Report on “Linking literacy and numeracy programmes in developing countries and the UK”.
The Jamaican Cultural Association is interested in working with City College Birmingham to pilot these courses in 2006 and Jamaica 2K has worked with the Project Planning Team and other partners to set up the Caribbean Centre for Education and Training in Lozells.
Jamaica 2K held a very successful evening event with City College at the new Caribbean Centre for Education and Training with Col. Wallace Stirling from the Moore Town Maroons who spoke about his work.
Recognition for our work:
The Caribbean Languages project was short listed for the Birmingham Lifelong Learning Awards in July 2005.
The work of Jamaica 2K and our partners won the CILT Award for Community Languages in 2005, presented by their patron Sir Trevor McDonald.
Jamaica 2K has created awards for “Honorary Ambassadors for the Jamaican Language” and the first of these was received by Oliver Samuels in December when he was leading the show “Sting” at the Birmingham Rep. He was delighted and pledges to help to support our work.
The Jamaica 2K Training Team has been nominated as a Group of Outstanding Adult Learners” for the NIACE Adult Learners’ Week awards and also for the NIACE Open Doors for Communities Award.
Jamaica 2K received the Staffordshire Positive Images Excellence Award for “Special Recognition” as an organisation that is considered to have contributed over the years to help promote and motivate black people in the local community to aim for greater achievement.
Liz Millman received a “‘Jamaican’ of Distinction” Award - recognised as a “Friend of Jamaica” from The Jamaican High Commissioner H.E. Ms Gail Mathurin.
Liz also received a “Woman of Purpose” Award from Jewels in the Kingdom for “Drive, Ambition and Overcoming the Odds”
We have been successful in gaining Lottery funding this year to support the development work on Jamaica Language and Culture.
Finally this is an opportunity to thank the following organisations for their support during the past year:
Windrush ETC (for office accommodation)
Learning Logistics (for a range of support)
City College Birmingham (for accommodation and support to run the first Jamaican Language and Culture course)
Stephen Brooks: Chairman Jamaica 2K