National Conference on Girls – 2017

National Conference on Girls

Hundreds of girls to take part in National Conference Nov. 15.

Hundreds of girls are expected to participate in the second staging of the National Conference on Girls’ Education, scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 15, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Hosted by the St. Hugh’s High School for Girls, this year’s conference will be held under the theme ‘Seeing Tomorrow: Thriving in a Cyber World’. Chair of the conference planning committee, Carol Williams, told JIS News that the first conference was held in 2014 in celebration of the school’s 115th anniversary.

She explained that this year’s theme was deliberately chosen because the school has some concerns that it wants to address regarding the issue of the mental health of adolescents in its care.

“We want to look at it in the context of the girls’ social media activities and their interaction in the whole online environment. We want to position the environment as not something that is toxic, but to help the girls understand that it is a space in which they can thrive with the right skills and with the right precaution,” she said.

The day’s event will begin with an opening ceremony at 9:00 a.m. State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, will declare the conference open.

Keynote speaker is Jamaican-born American Cybersecurity Expert, Loilette Loderick. Other presenters are Director of Child and Mental Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Judith Leiba; and Media Consultant, Author and Entrepreneur, Dr. Marcia Forbes.

Principal of the St. Hugh’s High School for Girls, Dr. Elaine Cunningham, said the conference will also provide an opportunity for the school community and its main stakeholders to engage in conversations on a plethora of topics, including career choices for girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations; building capacity to address sexual abuse of girls; and promoting the mental health needs of girls and young women.

She noted that the conference is consistent with the school’s tradition since it was established 118 years ago.

“It continues the strong commitment to empower girls, improve their lives and expand their leadership, education and career opportunities to make them national, regional and global citizens,” she said.

During the conference, the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), will launch the State of the World Population report.

The report is the premier annual research document of the UNFPA and is highly anticipated globally as a gauge on progress of populations around the world.