Opening of Digicel-USAID-Ministry of Education Enrichment Centre at top performing Horizon Park Primary.
Today, Thursday, September 8, is being celebrated globally as International Literacy Day (ILD), under the theme 'Reading the Past, Writing the Future' .
It will mark the 50th anniversary of the ILD, focusing on the efforts made over the past five decades in increasing literacy rates around the world, while addressing the current challenges and identifying innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.
In Jamaica, the Literacy Enrichment Programme a partnership of the Digicel Foundation, USAID and the Ministry of Education was launched three years ago to use ICT as an intervention tool to improve the literacy skills of children performing below the required aptitude levels prior to the National Grade Four Literacy Examination.
Since 2013, over 40,000 children have benefitted from the project, with over 250 teachers trained. Enrichment Centres are built and outfitted with computers, audio visual equipment and teaching tools within primary schools. Students between grades one and three who are reading below their grade level, are selected for enrolment and given special literacy and numeracy lessons to accelerate learning. The Foundation has been directly supporting the MOE's goal of achieving a national average of 85% literacy by 2015, which was not only met, but surpassed.
Year - National Literacy Average
2012 - 72
2013 - 74
2014 - 75
2015 - 86.5
These results are indeed heartening.
Jean Lowrie-Chin (Chairman, Digicel Jamaica Foundation)