THE UNIVERSITY of Technology (UTech) has a long tradition of providing classes for inner-city children living in the Papine area under its Saturday university programme.
Now that it is set to roll out a comprehensive programme of youth engagement through the Fi Wi Jamaica Project, Saturday university will get a boost and will be extended to other communities.
“Saturday university has its genesis in UTech students going into the Papine communities every summer to teach youngsters in those communities. During the semester, the university brings those students on to our campus to help them … . We not only do classes on the campus, but we also go into the inner-city community,” said Professor Rosalea Hamilton, project director of the Fi Wi Jamaica Project.
She was speaking at a recent Gleaner Editors’ Forum, where members of the Fi Wi Jamaica Project team explained that the Saturday university has now been extended to the Padmore Primary School, an institution that has been receiving support under the project.
“It is something that we see as our mandate to reach out to communities across Jamaica to deal not only with educational issues, literacy issues, [but] also personal development and interpersonal skills,” Hamilton added.
She explained that several plans on the table for the expansion of the Saturday university programme were halted, owing to lack of funding. Now, with funding secured under the Fi Wi Jamaica Project, the programme is expected to have much greater reach.
Dr Rohan Lewis, who is an expert with the project, explained that the Saturday university programme would continue to be managed by the Community Service and Development Division of UTech, but would be receiving funding support from the Fi Wi Jamaica Project.