Supporting skills training for young men and boys in Jamaica

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The Institute of Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) Mona Unit, at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Jamaica, with support from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), has conducted a research study to develop a strategy for increasing educational and skills training opportunities for young men and boys (16-24 years).

The project involved the participation of 300 boys, 150 mothers and local institutions on issues affecting boys’ educational attainment in Jamaica. The IGDS project expands the work of both educational and vocational opportunities that the Jamaican government provides. By identifying areas for developing a strategy to increase boys learning outcomes in school, the IGDS project has helped support the government in Jamaica to achieve the Sustainable Development ‘Goal 5: Gender Equality’ and ‘Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goal.’

This IGDS-COL partnership project provides baseline data on the situation faced by urban and rural young men regarding the opportunities for education and skills training, as well as a gender analysis of obstacles faced by men/boys and women/girls in taking advantage of opportunities. This research provides unique insight by examining the important role of mothers in motivating boys towards educational achievement and engagement, which is often left out of the analysis.

Dr Karen Carpenter, Head/Senior Lecturer, IGDS Mona Campus Unit, explained going forward from this phase of the project, “we can see the dire need for much greater public awareness of the many vocational and educational opportunities provided through bursaries and scholarships in Jamaica.”

The interviewers and researchers were drawn from the UWI-Mona Campus, linguistics, social sciences, research psychologists and social workers. The community recruiters and interviewers were briefed and trained in the specific skills and ethical practices involved in data collection.

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