Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Edu-Tourism in Jamaica - Report #1

I have been traveling to the Parish of St. Thomas in Jamaica for the past three summers along with Nelson and Novella Keith, President and Secretary of Edu-Tourism, Inc. We provide university students with the opportunity to get involved in on-going service projects in this region. The NGO establishes partnerships with local organizations, trying to find interesting opportunities for students and ways that we might be able to help these organizations meet their goals. See coverage in the Temple Times for an overview.

On-going partnerships include the following
  • an initiative to place PCs in all of the basic schools of the parish, and to train the teachers at the basic schools so that the computers will be integrated into the curriculum. In this project we are supporting goals that have been articulated within the Ministry of Education in Kingston.
  • a partnership with the Women's Centre of Jamaica to improve the physical structure and expand the programming at the St. Thomas branch.
  • internships for our students with the St. Thomas offices of RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) and 3D Projects (Dedicated to the Development of People with Disabilities).
  • an initiative to promote the creation of bio-latrines and the education of the general population in the benefits of their use.

Students traveling this summer and next Spring 2007 will make significant advances on all of these projects. Eight Temple University students arrived in Kingston on Monday, May 15, and have already begun their service work. They will be doing research on schooling and development issues in the Caribbean region. Each will be keeping a journal of their experiences over the course of the trip, with a particular focus on the work that they are engaged in at their service sites. They will be sharing insights, comparing experiences, and linking their experiences to the theoretical perspectives that they find in their course textbooks. All of this said, this blog should not be understood as an 'official mouthpeice of Edu-Tourism, Inc. Instead, this is written through the eyes and experiences of one person, Mike Dorn, a Temple University professor of education with interests in geography and disability studies.

I will be sharing my thoughts and answering your questions over the next four weeks as I accompany these students on their internship experiences and travel to some of the more remote sections of the island. Please check this space regularly for the latest reports from the field, and consider communicating with us. Drop your comments by following the link to the lower left. I will answer them the next time I find myself in front of my computer. Thanks, Mike

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