AddressAlice Eldemire Drive
St James, Jamaica
Montego Bay Community College, Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The 2006 Learning Conference will be held at the Montego Bay Community College, Montego Bay, Jamaica, the only multi-disciplinary public tertiary institution in Western Jamaica. Founded in 1975, the College has 1500 students today, offering certificate, diploma, associate degree and degree courses in a wide variety of areas. The present principal is Dr Angela Samuels, who has joined the International Advisory Board for the Learning Conference and the International Journal of Learning. For more information on the college, visit this website: "Jamaica Information Service".
The College is located near the bay itself, not far from where cruise liners berth. It is a short walk from the town of Montego Bay, and a 15 minute walk from the 'hip strip' of hotels and restaurants near Doctor's Beach on Gloucester Road. Those choosing to stay at Montego Bay's beach resorts will have a 15-20 minute (but relatively inexpensive) taxi ride to the conference venue.
The conference will also include a number of optional school visits, details of which will be announced later.
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About The Sam Sharpe Teachers College
Sam Sharpe (1801-1832) was the leader of the 1831 slave rebellion in Montego Bay which was a critical step towards the abolition of slavery. Sharpe was an educated town slave and a preacher who followed international movements by reading newspapers discarded by his masters. Religious ceremonies were the only form of meeting allowed for slaves, and through these he was able to tell his fellow slaves about the anti-slavery movement in the rest of the world. He developed a plan of passive resistance which was to involve slaves refusing to work on Christmas Day 1831, unless their owners considered their grievances. Word of the plan quickly spread well beyond Montego Bay. When the planters got word the strike was about to occur, they arranged for warships and troops to be sent to Montego Bay by the British rulers of Jamaica. It soon became clear that Sam Sharpe's non-violent plan was not going to work. On 27 December, the Kensington Estate Great House was set on fire and full scale rebellion began. Fourteen whites died during the fighting and more than 500 slaves, many of whom where executed by the British after the rebellion. The rebellion was quashed in eight days. Sam Sharpe was subsequently captured, tried and hung in the Parade in Montego Bay, today renamed Sam Sharpe Square.
Sam Sharpe Teachers college serves the descendants of the community to which Sam Sharpe belonged. Commencing operations in 1975, it teaches primary education, early childhood education, special education and guidance counselling. The college today has 600 students.
One of the missions of the College is to assist the community in addressing social issues. Its community-based programs recognise that "the city of Montego Bay, the tourist Mecca of Jamaica, is ringed by a number of squatter settlements of which the villages of Granville, Tucker, Pitfour, Retirement, and Irwin are fast growing communities that cut across the socio-economic groups within the working and lower middle classes. This has led to their being unemployed and unemployable, an untenable situation breeding frustration. The rate of involvement in drug pushing and use is high, and crime and violence are on the increase among youth. Incest, sexual abuse and early pregnancy make the fabric of family life fragile and often dysfunctional and so domestic violence is common." (Quote from the Jamaica-Kidz website) AIDS is also an issue of increasing concern.
The principal of the college since its founding thirty years ago is Dr Cecile Walden, a distinguished Jamaican educator who has joined the International Advisory Board for the Learning Conference and the International Journal of Learning.